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Student Spotlight: Alec Dampman Competes in New York State Track Qualifiers

By Linda Cheung

Close your eyes. Breathe in. Breathe out. For track co-captain Alec Dampman, meets are as much a mental battle as they are physical. His hours dedicated to practice and training– from statics and dynamics, to agility and weight training– earned him a coveted spot in New York State Track Qualifiers. On February 12, 2024, Dampman participated in the Qualifiers, competing in the 1000 meter run, and finished in 10th place.

For Dampman, track wasn’t a sport that was always on his radar since he initially used it for cross-training.

“I was inspired to do track at first because I wanted to get faster for soccer,” Dampman said. “At soccer, in 10th grade I ran a 6:30 mile and that was really embarrassing because I’m like ‘I used to be fast.’ So I did it for that and in my first race I got first place at a meet and I just wanted to keep going and I just got better and better.”

Source by Linda Cheung

Alec Dampman is recognized for breaking the school record in both the 600m and 1000m events.

Many athletes believe that being in a good mindset during competition is equally as important as physical fitness and technique. Dampman’s energetic attitude mirrors the high levels of athleticism necessary to run or sprint in events including the 1000 meter or 1600 meter run. 

“This is going to sound really cringy but I watch motivational Instagram videos,” Dampman said. “I usually do that on the bus before the meet and when I’m on the line before, I take a few deep breaths and know that I belong there.”

With NYS Track qualifying standards being extremely competitive, earning placement in the competition is the result of dedication and sacrifice to the sport. 

“Being in the NYS means a lot to me as it shows that the hard work I’ve been putting into track is really paying off, all of the long runs, speed workouts and lifting,” Dampman said. “For me it shows really how much I’ve improved as an athlete because back when I started I could never imagine making it this far, even last year I only made it to counties.”

Coach Buith cites Dampman’s coachable quality as instrumental to his success.

“He trusts in what his coaches are asking him to do, and he does not miss any practices,” Coach Buith said. “He is also very reflective each day with his workouts and performances and can take criticism in order to help continue bettering themselves. He works hard and his efforts have paid off tremendously.”

After talking to Dampman for just a couple minutes, one wouldn’t even question why or how he earned a spot in NYS Track Qualifiers. With an athlete’s frame of mind being half the battle in competition, Dampman has more than enough optimism to get through any meet. 

“The track community is so welcoming and it’s a family of people there to uplift each other,” Dampman said. “Everyone gets better together and the people that I've been with have been with me since 10th grade so it’s been really fun. When I first broke five minutes for the mile, when I got 4:57, the whole team went around me and it felt like ‘We did it together.’ I remember everyone smiling and cheering.”


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