Starting to wrap up our senior salutes, this next entry coming from MJ Bathan who made the great choice to join track his senior year.
Name: MJ Bathan
School: Immaculata HS (Somerville, NJ)
What was your most memorable race/moment?
My most memorable race was at the Non-Public B Sectionals, where my teammates and I, the 4x100m team, finished third to become the first ever outdoor track runners in school history, along with my teammate Greg Leddy, to qualify for the Meet of Champions. I barely made it on time because I came straight from graduation, right after I recieved my diploma, went straight to the car and flew to Northern Burlington Regional HS. My teammates were keeping me updated, even as the graduation ceremony was going on. When they told me they were the next event I luckily saw them from the parking lot, ran out of the car, hopped the fence, and got right on the track. It was a day I will never forget.
Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?
This year was actually my first year running track, but I would consider my biggest competition this year the runners from Franklin and St. Joe's Hammonton.
What was your greatest accomplishment?
My greatest accomplishment was going to the Meet of Champions, setting and breaking new schools records all in one season. My 4x100m teammates (sophomore Gianni Riga, junior Ken Cebedo, sophomore Kendall Davis) hold the school record with a time of 45.7 seconds, and it was one of the biggest highlights of our team's great season.
If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running career in high school?
If could do it all over again, I would have ran track all four years. I always wanted to do it, but was always so busy with football training that I never had the time. So when senior year came along, and saw that many of my friends were joining the team too, such as Mike Lonsdorf, Joe Levandoski, and Kyle Majikowski, I thought "why not?" And it was one of the best decisions I made in my four years at Immaculata, but I wish I had joined sooner.
What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
The most difficult obstacle I had to overcome was just adjusting to the sport of track and field. It was different from what I was used to- football and basketball. It being my first year, I had to learn very quickly and luckily I did, with the help of my coaches and teammates.
What will you miss the most?
I will miss the bond our whole team shared with one another. We were a close-knit group and had a lot of chemistry together from day one. We had fun each and every day, and I loved going to practice because of all my teammates. It made my adjustment to the sport a lot easier.
What advice would you give to younger athletes?
I would would tell young athletes to put 100% effort in whatever they do. You can't teach effort, not even your coaches, it's a mindset. You ultimately determine how you perform, and even though you may hit some bumps in the road, people who put in the most effort will achieve success. Every time.
What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?
I didn't have as close of a relationship with my coaches- Coach Robinson and Coach Hiebell- compared to some of my other teammates because it was just my first year. But, I give them all the credit for our great season because without them, none of this would be possible. They helped me fall in love with the sport of track.
What are your college plans?
My college plans are to attend St. John's University in Queens, NY to pursue International Business. I will also be on their club track and field team for winter and spring.
Who would you like to say 'thank you' to?
I would like to thank my family- especially my parents- for their continued support of me in whatever I do. I would like thank my school and the countless opportunities they gave me to succeed, not just on the track. I would like to thank my friends for always being by my side through it all. I would like to thank my teammates and coaches for allowing me to become part of something I never thought would be so special to me. And last but not least, I would like to thank God for everything he has blessed me with in my life.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Never would I have thought that joining track would be such a big highlight of my years at Immaculata. Even though it was for only one season, I will never forget it. I am excited to see where the program goes from here after such a great season. They are in good hands and I'm sure our sprinters will finish what we started next year. Thank you for everything track and field, you've been very good to me. Go Spartans.