Visit my page at NYSportScene.com to listen to two High School School Sports Reports I recently delivered on the KOKS Radio Program. At the end of each I also spotlight a super-cool sports item well-suited for tweens and teens!
It’s always my pleasure to cite record-breaking news items of note. Here’s an item pertaining to high school girls’ track and field that isn’t confined to a specific school or state record, but rather a national-level achievement.
In Albany, New York, Rush-Henrietta High School sophomore, Sammy Watson, has set the second fastest 400 meter dash sprint time in the nation…and with no starting blocks! Usually, before a race begins, the runners take their stance on a pair of running blocks intended to help get the runner get off to a good start. However, in a previous race in which Watson used the blocks, she didn’t post a time she wanted, and therefore decided to approach this subsequent race with no blocks whatsoever.
As the starting gun sounded, Watson propelled herself from a standing start, and eventually won the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Division I girls 400 final in 52.69 seconds, reflecting a meet record. With that performance, Watson moved up the leaderboard, raising up from a third place position to second place nationwide. This was reportedly the first time Watson had won a state championship, and, in doing so, she also lowered the Section V record she had also notably reset during sectionals the month prior.
Maybe someday we’ll all be watching Watson represent The United States in the Olympics. Only time will tell, but she seems to be sprinting in the right direction!
Anyone who thinks girls aren’t super-strong need only read this story to gain a new mindset.
Juliette Chang-Fane, a 15 year old attendee of Edgewood High School in Merritt Island, Florida, broke the American Youth 14-15 weightlifting record for the Clean and Jerk event in very memorable fashion. She ended up lifting a bar full of weights that totaled 175 pounds over her head! She also broke the record for lifting the most amount of weight for a person of her body weight—125 pounds.
Juliette’s trainer attributes her success to how she approaches to new challenges and a given task at hand, citing that her mentality is to analyze everything scientifically. Juliette reportedly even films all of her weightlifting sessions so that she can critique herself later on.
What’s additionally impressive is that, prior to competing, Juliette had only trained in the sport of weightlifting for 9 months, mainly using the CrossFit method, whereas most of the other youth competing the day she broke the record had trained much of their lives. She had overcome other obstacles as well, including numerous doubters who believed that weight-lifting was a “man’s sport” and that women should stick to more traditional roles. However, Chang-Fane seeks to break that stereotype and prove that female athletes are capable of anything. She hopes to be an inspiration to all the young girls out there to be exactly whoever and whatever to be. Her message is apparently resonating. Juliette has, already accumulated over 9,500 followers on the Instagram social media platform, alone.
This high school student reportedly has her eye on making a run at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team that will compete in Tokyo. She seems to be well on her way.
Want a feel-good sports report? This is a downright heartwarming story about a high school basketball team in Los Angeles, California that spent the Sunday before this past Father’s Day giving assistance to the homeless around their community.
This act of team generosity was spearheaded by their coach, Harvey Kitani, who, throughout his tenure as the Fairfax High School boys’ varsity basketball coach, has experienced many players with family issues. In one case, one of his players was actually homeless for a short period of time! His 2015 team, which won the Los Angeles City Section title the year prior (finishing with 32 wins and 3 losses), gave assistance to those in need in Los Angeles’ notorious Skid Row area, which has the city’s largest homeless population. The event was organized by the Family Bridge Foundation in collaboration with the Intellect-Mercy-Love Foundation and The Senegalese Association of Los Angeles—a support-system for West Africa’s Senegalese Community in the Los Angeles Region. Most of the food was reportedly cooked by a group of Senegalese natives! Additionally, during the event water bottles and dental supplies were doled out to the homeless as well.
The impact this charitable and selfless experience had on the players cannot be understated. After the team completed the day, two players decided to promote the spirit of generosity at their school in a more formal way, and started a club on campus known as the Fairfax Closet, whereby students take to the streets of Los Angeles to provide clothing and other support for the homeless in their community.
This is a fantastic example of team-based athletes using their power in numbers and their social skills to achieve a greater good. Well played, team.