Newton South closes out a winter of records

With the winter sports season recently coming to an end, three Newton South High School athletes’ hard work has paid off in historic fashion. 

At the indoor track Meet of Champions on Feb. 24, junior Alex Friedman and senior Nate Hamilton broke school records. Friedman ran a 4:21.65 to beat his own mark and set a new indoor 1-mile school record, and Hamilton took down the former 1,000 meter school record, which had stood since 2011, with a time of 2:33.39. 

At the Dual County League (DCL) championship swim meet on Feb. 3, Sophomore Emma Minor bested her own school record in the 100 yard breaststroke with a time of 1:05.48.

The Newton teachers strike, which kept students out of classrooms for 15 days and sidelined athletes, presented a unique opportunity. Friedman said the hiatus gave him the time to train harder and longer leading up to the championship season.

“Not having races means that over those weeks, you can sort of rearrange it so that you can do harder training and you can also have more recovery from that without going into a race, which is really intense on your body,” he said.

The top runners on the boys’ track team were running about 50 to 60 miles a week and sometimes running twice a day. Friedman said the mileage and cross training helped him get very fit.

“I always knew that I was capable of running the times I’ve been running right now, but it’s just about stacking up the weeks little by little and then it all comes together in the end,” Friedman said.

Since all of the runners are strong and prepared coming into the race, Hamilton focused on running smart and being patient. Hamilton said he was able to run his fastest because he focused on changing his mindset to feel present in the race and enjoy the experience. 

“I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to show out at the big meets and sometimes a  little too much pressure on the times and our performances,” Hamilton said. “So I just tried to focus on the race and be in the moment and enjoy it and I think I really did a good job of that at the Meet of Champions where I broke the record.”

Minor, who won the state championship in the 100 yard breaststroke, credits her record time to her emphasis on the fundamentals as she sought to improve.  

“I was just trying to go as fast as possible while still keeping my techniques to make sure I’m actually progressing through the water. Just focusing in on my details like my turns at each wall really helped cut my time down,” Minor said.

Breaking school records brought  a rewarding feeling for Friedman, Hamilton and Minor as they were able to see their effort and dedication to their sport pay off in a historic way.

“[The record] means almost everything. It’s what I put almost all my hours outside of school into like, two to three hours a day,” Friedman said. “It’s the culmination of all the hard work I put in.”

The achievement was a full circle moment for Hamilton, as he attributes his accomplishment to former teammates who led the way.

“Breaking [the record] really means a lot and especially looking up to some of my old teammates on the wall who are now in college and the way they motivated me to be better,” Hamilton said.

“I’m really proud of my improvement from last season and breaking my own record. And

it feels great to be a part of our team’s history,” Minor said.