Salute to Seniors: Nick Delaney of Princeton HS

Salute To Seniors is a medium for "senior farewells". We wanted to give everyone a chance to salute them one more time as well as invite those seniors to tell their stories from the past four years. We will be posting this series through July, we already have a number of submissions and if you would like to submit check out this article for how to do so.

Athlete: Nick Delaney

School: Princeton HS

College: Tufts University

What was your most memorable moment?

My most memorable moment from high school was the Group 4 State championship 4x800. The whole squad just executed our races so perfectly, and to score 10 points in a big team battle felt really rewarding. Crossing that finish line was where four years of work paid off, and I couldn't have been happier to see the guys afterwards.

Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?

Mercer County is a really competitive area for distance running, so we've raced against a ton of talent over the years. However the most consistently impressive team has got to be West Windsor South, who's program is filled with fast dudes and good characters.

What was your greatest accomplishment? 

My greatest accomplishment in high school track is probably anchoring our 4x8 the whole season my senior year. Although we fell short at Meet of Champs, we were unstoppable throughout much of the season and helped set the tone for our entire team's success.

If you could do it all over again, what would you change about your high school career? 

I wish I knew more about form and physical mechanics as an underclassmen. I knew how to execute in races, but in practice I would often get lazy on runs where I could have been improving. I also wish I put less pressure on myself, because as I got older I realized my best races were those where I just had fun with it.

What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?

Breaking my foot right after qualifying for Nationals my freshman year was really heartbreaking, and taught me how to reintroduce myself to the sport both mentally and physically. My toughest mental battle was definitely during cross country and winter track of my senior year. During the fall I had a lackluster season due to some personal issues that caused training inconsistencies, and a 10 week case of mono crippled my winter season. I didn't realize I had it until groups, and I was extremely frustrated with how my races were going. I was running times that were some of the slowest of my career, and I was really questioning what was in store for me the next few years. Luckily I stuck around during the off-season and built myself up back for spring, because I ended up surprising myself with my recovery.

What will you miss the most?

The team. I can't think of a single happy or successful moment during track and xc that I didn't share with some of my best friends.

What advice would you give to younger athletes?

Stay focused and realize your goals, but don't put too much pressure on yourself. Be your own runner and run your own races, that's the only way to make real progress. Adjusting your own mistakes and quirks takes time, so be effective and don't rush success.

What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?

Coach Smirk is one of the most influential adults in my life. He has helped me through battles of all kinds, both mental and physical; showing me patience where I may not have deserved it. He trusted me and I trusted his training, and it led to a lot of great moments. 

What are your post-high school or college plans?

I will be running for Tufts University up in Boston.

Who would you like to say 'thank you' to?

Everyone that makes the running community so great!