Nwana Breaks Syosset High School Freshman Cross Country Record
When Simon Nwana started to run track in the seventh grade, he never could have predicted the success that was on the horizon. Now, nearly two years later, Nwana’s name is etched in the Cross Country record book.
The ninth grader ran the 400-meter intermediate hurdles in 61.9 seconds, breaking the record for freshmen in that event.
Nwana’s record setting number is a testament to how far he has come. By his own admission, his track career didn’t get off to a great start.
“I wasn’t that good because I didn’t have any stamina,” Nwana said about his seventh grade season.
But the runner was determined to make waves on the track. He trained during the summer before eighth grade and was soon placing in the top 10 consistently.
That success has continued. Earlier this year, Nwana ran a 4:50 mile. True to his penchant for hard work, he isn’t satisfied with just one record.
“My goal is to break the freshman record of 4:37 in the mile and 2:02 in the 800,” Nwana said.
Nwana isn’t the only Syosset Cross Country star making waves in the first few weeks of the spring season - Tommy Vitucci ran two miles in 11 minutes, a personal best.
Those kind of individual achievements are what drive the program.
“We don’t worry about (finishes),” coach Bart Sessa said. “To be honest, I don’t even remember what the score was, but there were a lot of improvements and personal records. That’s always the goal.”
One of the personal goals that has yet to be realized belongs to Michael Wilkins. Wilkins, who is one of the better pole vaulters in the county, hopes to pole vault 13 feet. Also a runner, he would like to clock a sub-two minute half mile.
If the season thus far is any indication, Wilkins has a good shot to reach his goal.
The Braves will compete at the Suffolk Officials Meet in Mount Sinai on Saturday.
Braves Boys Tennis Win First Two Matches
The Syosset boys tennis team started the year off strong with a 4-3 win over Jericho on Wednesday. Jacob Mishkin’s third singles match victory acted as the deciding victory. The win was followed up by a 7-0 victory over Great Neck South on Thursday.
“It’s always nice to win the first match,” coach Shai Fisher said of the Jericho triumph. “The early win does not take the initial pressure off the team, but I stress to them that each match is equally important since we only play 12 league matches.”
Among the biggest early season concerns for the Braves is doubles play. This is not a comment on talent as much as it is on experience. Most players only play doubles during the high school season, opting for singles in outside events.
The Braves doubles teams are slowly coming together, hampered by reduced practice time caused by inclement weather.
Syosset will host three matches next week; Great Neck North on Monday, Cold Spring Harbor on Wednesday, and Port Washington on Friday.