Hunter College track and field team resting in the shade at the East River track Wednesday morning. Photo by Yvonne Chow.
Participating in Hunter’s track and field team taxes the body and mind—but these student-athletes say the biggest sacrifice of all is time.
The team is seeking to win another championship at the Outdoor Track & Field CUNY Athletic Conference, and preparing for the pressures of races drives them to push limits and maintain nutritious diets.
Relentless competitiveness is the reason CUNYAC All-Star and vegan Robin Marshall joined the team. Feeling productive and pushing her limits drives her daily, despite the huge time commitment. “I set my bedtime as 10 p.m.,” Marshall said. “It’s not just running but also staying healthy, rolling, stretching, and icing.”
For Julia Leask, rookie of the week, the time spent getting a challenging workout with the team outweighs the pressures of racing. Leask said: “I hate racing so much, but I enjoy watching everyone else race.” To her, good teammates and always pushing herself a little bit more are the keys to a successful season.
The women’s outdoor track & field team has won six championships and earned 14 cross country championships, the most all-time in CUNYAC history. Talking about 8 a.m practices in Central Park and Hunter’s basement gymnasium, they all said they enjoyed one thing: challenging themselves.
“I’m always looking to improve myself,” said Zoe Colasacco, sportsmanship of the year recipient. Knee injuries have been her biggest challenge, but she tells herself that it’s not permanent – that she’ll only come back physically and mentally stronger. Like her teammates, Colasacco credits her success to a positive attitude, faith in coaches, showing up, giving your best and not being afraid to push herself.
Helping them develop a passion for the sport, as well as a sense of accomplishment and self-worth, is all Coach Daniel Selsky could hope for. “What’s key in this sport is finding intrinsic motivation,” he said. “Obviously, it’s nice to win awards, but if that’s the sole reason you’re doing it, you’re going to be disappointed.”
For Selsky, his biggest challenge is getting everyone in a team atmosphere and finding the positives in racing when it’s so easy to get caught in an individual and negative mindset. “Another challenge is getting them understand that there’s a bigger picture,” he said.
Coaching also requires being more strategic in spending time with family and friends since working on weekends is part of the sport. “The weekends are part of being track and field,” he said. “Where other people might be able to just say, ‘hey, let’s do this Saturday,’ here that’s not necessarily the case.”