Valley Stream native excels on the track

Elmont H.S. grad earns athlete of the week honors


A Valley Stream native and Elmont High School graduate has added plenty of hardware to his trophy case during a standout indoor track season at Jamaica’s York College.

Roshane Wright, a sophomore sprinter and long jumper for the York College Cardinals, a Division III team, was recognized for the fifth time as athlete of the week by the City University of New York Athletic Conference, and a one-time athlete of the week from the Eastern Colleges Athletic Association, a collection of Division I, II and III schools from across the East coast, since he began his indoor track season in January.

“It definitely feels nice to get the awards,” Wright said. “I was really excited and really proud when I found out. I felt like I had been running well, jumping well — you know, just competing really well, and it definitely is great to have people on the outside recognize that as well.”

Wright’s indoor season started with a bang. He finished second overall and first among Division II or III athletes in the long jump with a 7.14-meter jump. He finished second in the 400-meter race, finishing the one-lap sprint in 51.73 seconds.

Mark Benjamin, Wright’s coach at York, said he and the other coaches were waiting for a breakout season from Wright.

“None of us were surprised by it,” he said. “He worked very hard all summer and all fall to be ready for this season. He’s a very hard worker out there on the track, he always gives you everything he has.”

Wright’s official introduction to the sport he excels at now came during his time at Elmont Junior High School, where he and his friends joined the track team during seventh grade. His love for the sport was born much earlier, however.

“Before I ever joined a track team or anything like that, I just liked to run,” he explained. “My friends and I, we were all pretty fast, and we would just go to different parks and race or even just race out in the middle of the street. We just liked to run.”

He didn’t always win those races but performed well, he said. After joining his junior high school team he started out running the 200-meter dash, a half-lap sprint.

“I did pretty well in it, but I wasn’t great,” he said. “Eventually — I think it was 10th grade — I was at Elmont High School, and they moved me to the 400-meters. It’s a little longer, but I was able to keep my sprinting speed for pretty much the whole lap, which is a big advantage.”

Benjamin said that enthusiasm for the sport foreshadowed his success at York. “From the first time we talked to him, we could see he was a track fanatic,” he said. “He has so much love, so much passion for the sport. From the first time we spoke with him before his sophomore year, he told us that and he exhibited it, and we knew that would help him make a real impact on the team.”

Wright has not slowed down as the season has progressed. He is the fifth-ranked Division III long jumper in the county, and second in the ECAC. He has dominated the CUNY Athletic Conference, holding the top performance in the long jump, 200-meter dash and 400-meter dash this season.

On March 1, he led the Cardinals to a second-place finish in the CUNY Athletic Conference Championships, winning the 400-meter dash with a personal best time of 49.86 seconds, and finishing second in the long jump with a distance of more than six meters.

“It really is great to be able to still kind of represent where I’m from,” he said. “I know York is a city school, but it’s still so close to home. I’m very happy how far I’ve been able to go with this and happy to represent my hometown and my high school. It’s been great.”