Herald Editorial

We are all champions


Nassau County truly is the home of champions.

It’s where you can find the four-time Stanley Cup champion New York Islanders. For more than a century, it’s where the Belmont Stakes thoroughbred horse race was held — and where it will return, bigger and better than ever, in 2026, when renovations are completed at Belmont Park.

There’s also the four-time Atlantic League of Professional Baseball champion Long Island Ducks. And, for the past couple weeks, anyone trying to make their away around Eisenhower Park, in East Meadow, couldn’t help but get caught up in the excitement of the International Cricket Council Men’s T20 World Cup, in which India upended Pakistan in a highly anticipated international rivalry.

But our true champions are much closer to home. In fact, they are in our own backyards, if not in our own homes. They are our school athletes — young men and women who spend hours conditioning, training and drilling to step out on a baseball diamond, a track, a tennis court, a football field, a basketball court, a lacrosse field, or a soccer or rugby pitch to try to win it all in front of their families, friends, neighbors and peers.

And then, after all that, they go back to their studies, so they can have the best shot at a successful future.

We are proud of every one of them for what they accomplish. And we support them as they look for ways to win, and cheer them when they do so.

They always give us reason to cheer for them, and even more when they win titles — like the South Side High School boys’ lacrosse team taking home the state Class B boys championship in a thrilling overtime win over Victor.

And they are hardly alone. The boys’ track and field team from Baldwin High captured its first county championship in more than a decade, while the girls’ track and field team from Oceanside did the same, over rival Syosset.

The boys from Malverne won a county championship of their own in track and field, while the Valley Stream North girls celebrated a number of individual county champions, like Moanna Thelusca in discus, Nattaly Lindo in shot put, and the Fessler sisters, Paige and Brooke, finishing first and second, respectively, in the high jump. We also have to mention the amazing work of the North Shore girls’ track and field squad, which came away with the Class A championship.

And don’t even get us started on the excellence in softball from the previous week, with Kennedy and Seaford winning Long Island championships, while Oceanside took home the Class AAA crown.
Then there was the Wantagh girls’ lacrosse team beating Manhasset for the Nassau Class C championship, while the Lynbrook boys’ tennis team won a conference title.

And then there are county championships for the Calhoun girls track team, the Clarke baseball team, and the Wantagh boys lacrosse team.
We could go on. There is a lot to celebrate — no matter what the scoreboard shows.

These young men and women are learning teamwork, leadership and resilience. As they work together to achieve common goals, they learn the value of collaboration and mutual support. The highs of victory and the lows of defeat provide lessons in handling success with grace, and the rest with dignity.

These experiences are invaluable as these athletes prepare to face the myriad challenges of adult life with a balanced and determined mindset. They also provide opportunities for college scholarships and career advancement, opening doors to higher education that might not have otherwise been available for many.

Their journeys also serve as a powerful unifying force within communities. On Long Island, where villages and hamlets have distinct identities, high school sports can bridge divides and create a sense of shared purpose.

High school sports are much more than a venue for cheering on the home team. They are a cornerstone of physical health, personal development, academic excellence and community cohesion. By supporting and investing in them, we are nurturing the next generation of leaders, scholars and community members, ensuring a vibrant and dynamic future for Nassau County.