By Olivia Tuzel
From March 10th to March 12th, top high school track athletes across the nation came together at The Armory to compete in the Nike Indoor Nationals, a high school track meet that has been hosted every year since 2010. Only the most dedicated and passionate individuals are given the chance to attend this specific meet: they’ve shown unwavering effort throughout their track career and accepted that luck does not determine their performance, but rather, how hard they work. This year, 10 extremely devoted student-athletes on the 2022-2023 indoor track team from White Plains High School qualified for the Nike Indoor Nationals.
Each day at the Armory was different. The 4x200 boys relay team ran on Friday as qualifiers for the emerging elite section with Coach McCormick by their side. The relay was composed of three seniors and one sophomore: Jacob Lee, Aidan Bartlett, Isaiah Graham and Noah Lee. The boys ran a time of 1:36.01.
“Our first goal, which we were proud of, was to actually qualify for the meet,” Coach McCormick said. “Our next goal was to try to put up a season-best time to close out the indoor season even though we (the team) were still battling injuries from the season. [We wanted] to have the athletes experience what nationals is all about and to compete with the nation's best athletes.”
Saturday consisted of a variety of events for six seniors from WPHS. Jacob Lee competed in the emerging elite long jump, jumping with one of his best efforts of the year. Sophie Ginsberg, a Section 1 Cross Country Champion, qualified for the championship section of the girls 5000-meter run. It was a new event for her, yet she placed a school record with a time of 18:35.95. The 4x800 relay team, including Patrick Stanton, Ronan Staab, Patrick Brown and Yuki Watanabe, qualified for the emerging elite section. They soared across the finish line with a time of 8:38.00, their second-fastest time of the year. Coach Singleton, Coach Furry and Coach Hidalgo accompanied the six athletes that day.
“All of our competitors that day were seniors, all great students, and they were among our hardest workers on the team,” Coach Singleton began. “They clearly provided role models to the younger athletes on our team, showing them the reward for hard work on the track and in the classroom. Each epitomizes the term ‘student-athlete.’”
Finally, on Sunday, Coach Hidalgo supported Julia Beckman in the girls One Mile Race Walk Championship. Julia walked with a time of 9:04.65. Impressively enough, this junior also wears the title of a former 2022 Outdoor New Balance Nationals qualifier for the race walk.
“The walk went really well for me,” Julia said. "I felt really good during the race and although it was a big meet, it didn’t feel like it. It just felt like a regular race.”
The four coaches agree that it was their absolute pleasure to have had the opportunity to coach such an extraordinary and committed group of high schoolers. The athletes perpetually supported the team and made it clear that they truly love the sport.
“All of the coaches were proud to see the culmination of all their hard work throughout this and past seasons; it was a true joy to see this group represent White Plains at Nationals,” Coach Hidalgo wrote.
“I felt everyone gave a really good effort at Nationals,” Coach Furry started. “It was exciting to see the WP athletes compete against some of the top runners in the country. As a coach, it was fun to see how excited they were to be part of the National meet.”
For the seniors, the Nike Indoor Nationals was an especially special moment.
“It was a pleasure seeing all of them, in the last indoor meet of their WPHS careers, compete at such a prestigious meet,” said Coach Singleton. “I know it was exciting for all of them."
The coaches shared their memorable experiences from the meet, ranging from seeing “the kids light up when they received their nationals gear” to witnessing such heated and competitive events take place up close. In the end, they agreed that being able to watch these 10 track athletes bloom into the people they are today was the best experience of them all.