A new feature for this spring where each week we pick an athlete for some quick questions ranging from their experiences in track and field to their favorite foods.
Major accomplishment: Hamilton became Westfield's first indoor Meet of Champions winner by capturing the 1,600 meters in 4:57.15. Two weeks earlier she won the Group 4 title in NJ#1/US#14 4:56.05, an indoor PR.
She also ran 4:56.98 split anchoring the DMR 12:03.36 (a school record and No. 2 in Union County indoor history), then NJ#1/US#4 in mid-February at the NY Armory.
Hamilton's overall mile PR is 4:53.16 from placing third in the Group 4 meet last spring. She also owns an outdoor 800 PR of 2:12.85, from winning the 2019 North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 title.
Self-quarantine: "It's been hard to stay disciplined with schoolwork and training. I'm trying to train as normally as I would during the offseason. We have journals for workouts and mileage and different types of runs. It's definitely harder to train without my teammates but we're communicating and supporting each other to stay on top of runs. We check in with each other to keep the team atmosphere as much as possible.
"Without having access to a track it's more difficult to maintain training and it's a challenge, but I'm in the same position as all other runners are. It's frustrating but at the same time there's nothing you can do about it. The entire world is going through this so we can't feel sorry for ourselves."
Intro to running: "I grew up playing soccer but my favorite aspect was running and I fell in love with it that way. My family is into running and two older cousins (Kelly Burke, an All-Stater at Cranford, and Jillian Burke, a walk-on at Boston College) ran in college.
"I started to race in sixth grade but I owe my start to the Flyers Track Club (coached by Greg and Jolene Hatzisavvas). Thanks to them I was able to get my feet wet."
Epiphany: "The moment that really opened my eyes was during winter track my freshman year. It was my first year of indoor track at the high school level and I had never run before. I was racing against upperclassmen in the 600 and I won the race. I realized I'm not too shabby at this. In middle school I was never the best but I realized I wasn't terrible at it and it was something I could stick with."
Strangest/craziest/funniest moment: "Before one race my sophomore year I kept singing Hot Cross Buns before getting on the starting line. Don't know why it was in my head. It ended up being a good race."
Favorite season: Spring track. "I like the whole team atmosphere. Winter track can be difficult to go see the different events and support teammates. In outdoor track there's more time and meets are longer. People are running around the infield supporting each other and it's warmer. There are multiple events and everyone can have their own strengths."
Ideal vacation (otherwise known as Harrowing Hike): "Two years ago my family (dad Jeff, mom Kim, younger brother James, 13, and older sister Emma, freshman at Lafayette) went to Arches National Park in Utah. It was amazing. I have a very outdoorsy family. I had never seen anything like this park before. The landscape was incredible."
"We almost got stranded for two hours when we went on a hike and couldn't find our way back. The park is massive and you don't see rangers too frequently, so it wasn't like we were going to be found anytime soon. We were running out of water and we didn't have a working GPS. They have rough paths that are very hard to follow, so basically we were trekking through these rocks and creating our own path and heading back in the direction we came from, trying to find people to see if we were going the right way. I think my mom panicked a little but she didn't want us to see that. Definitely a scary moment. It turned out to be like a five-hour hike."
Birthday meal: "I'm a big fan of sushi. Our tradition is to go out with our extended family the day after Christmas to a sushi restaurant."
Role model:"Definitely my sister Emma. She has always been there for me. Every decision I've made has been influenced by her. Unfortunately for her she's the guinea pig child, so I get to see everything she does, and work my life around her failures and successes."
Superpower: Flying. "Just out of convenience, I can get to places so much faster. It would make my life so much more efficient."
Dinner for four:Hamilton's dinner party would include:
Professional U.S. middle distance runner Mary Cain -- "Her story is so fascinating. What she's trying to do for women empowerment is great."
Abraham Lincoln -- "I want to major in political science in college. He's done so much for this country and I think he would be an amazing conversationalist."
Mulala Yousafai, the youngest ever Nobel laureate -- "What she's trying to do for spreading education around the world, especially females in particular, is inspiring. She's an incredible person."