It wasn't very long ago that Hewlett's Nicole Sellino was a wide-eyed freshman who spent her afternoons admiring the pure athleticism of her senior track and field teammates. Now, Sellino is closing out her senior season and is beginning to reflect on what a long, successful trip it has been.
"I started out on this team when I was 14 and now I can legally buy a lotto ticket,'' Sellino said last week. "That's a lot of time. When I was a freshman, I looked at the seniors and said 'wow, she's so fast.' Now, the younger kids are saying that about us.''
And Sellino, as well as her fellow almost-alumni runners, are very conscious of that responsibility.
"They're looking towards us now,'' she said of her underclassmen teammates. "If we're practicing and warming up the right way, they're going to follow us. In four years, maybe the freshmen that watch us can do the same things we're doing now.''
And what is it they're doing? Almost everything. Well, everything except losing. After a victory over Manhasset and Lawrence on Tuesday, Hewlett completed their fourth consecutive undefeated league season, giving the current senior class a mark of 52-0. The win also clinched the Conference III championship. Since 2003, Hewlett is 126-2 in league meets.
Numbers that impressive are hard for some to wrap their arms around.
"It's weird,'' Erika Kaminer said of the perfect mark. "Coming into freshman year, you would never think you would leave four years later and never experience losing. Now that we've done it, it's amazing. They're no kids in this school, besides the track team, who can say that. It's a whole different level of accomplishment.''
Kaminer saved her best for last. The senior set personal records in the 400 and the triple jump during the final meet. She leaped 31 feet, 11 inches in the triple jump. A finish of 1 minute, 4.7 seconds in the 400 served as an indicator of how well her day went.
"The 400 is my least favorite event,'' Kaminer said. "Tuesday was the first time I went into the 400 and wasn't nervous about it. I went into it with a clear head and ran hard. I didn't mentally check out like I normally do. As soon as I got off the line, I knew it was the race of my life.''
While Hewlett boasts a strong senior presence, the team doesn't show any signs of slowing once those elders head off to college. Junior Shari Weiss is a perfect example of that. Weiss has been the top scorer in league meets this season. She already is looking forward to her turn as a senior.
"I hope that I can be a good role model for all the new freshman,'' Weiss said. "I hope that I can motivate everyone and tell them my stories.''
Those stories will include a little bit of everything. Everything, except losses.