By MAEVE GRAY
As the wind blows through her hair, she feels the adrenaline kicking in as she moves her legs faster. Her heartbeat increases as she chases the finish line in front. With a few more steps and a determined mindset, she achieves her goal and crosses the finish line, breathless.
Throughout her high school career as a member of both the cross country and track and field team at Wilson, while also becoming president of Key Club, senior Nicole Tong is one of the most hard-working students on campus.
Tong’s interest sparked after finding out about the club activities that took place.
“My brother introduced me to Key Club when I was in middle school, and I started to become more invested when I saw all of the fun events and volunteering opportunities it provided,” Tong explained. “Everyone was friendly and seemed to bond like a family. I was inspired by this and wanted to experience it for myself, while encouraging other members to be more involved.”
One of Tong’s biggest achievements in Key Club was being able to plan out club activities when COVID- 19 first started.
“My most memorable achievement in Key Club is being able to find fun and productive ways to help the community during the pandemic. Some of these events included a charity miles event where members could walk, run, or bike to earn money for charity.”
Another one of Tong’s achievements take place in track and field. After competing in the 200 meter, 400 meter, 4 x 100 meter relay and 4 x 400 meter relay, Tong earned a spot to qualify for the CIF for two consecutive years.
Through hard work and effort, Tong received rookie of the year in her freshman year and most valuable varsity athlete in her sophomore year.
“Qualifying for CIF for the first time during my freshman year was shocking and a bit nerve-racking since I was still new to the sport. But as I began to practice more and more, I started to learn to enjoy it and just have fun with it,” Tong said. “I realized that if I enjoy what I do, I tend to push harder and have a greater overall sense of satisfaction. This [mentality] is what helped keep me going and allowed me to improve.”
Before joining track and field, Tong did not have a passion for running. After seeing her run during a volleyball tournament, the track coaches convinced her to join the team.
Consequently, Tong’s mind changed after her journey in running began.
“I was hesitant at first because I have always hated running, but I started to learn to enjoy it a lot more,” Tong stated. “Running helps to clear my head and generate a rewarding feeling that I am accomplishing something for myself.”
Although she had some complications with the choosing process, Tong shares the same mentality and situation with cross country.
“It was a really tough decision choosing between volleyball and cross country because I never thought I would enjoy or even survive running long distances. However, I ended up just going for it, and it was the best decision I have ever made.”
Tong uses music as a motivation whenever she is feeling tired or stressed out with these extracurricular activities.
“Running a club takes a lot of time and commitment because you are responsible for setting and monitoring goals for the club, running club meetings, delegating tasks, recruiting, and retaining members.”
Especially when she has a lot of school work, Tong manages her time well so she will still be able to participate in her extracurriculars without any conflicts.
“I balance out my school work and extracurriculars by being organized and using my time efficiently. I try to avoid wasting time on meaningless events and set my priorities to focus more on my important responsibilities.”
In the future, Tong plans to further her education by attending a four year university, and welcomes any challenges that face her.
“Although my dream college is University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), I am open to attending other colleges in or out of state," Tong said. "I’m still undecided about my major, but I am mostly leaning towards kinesiology and physical therapy, which is inspired by my experiences in track."
“I’m still undecided about my major, but I am mostly leaning towards kinesiology and physical therapy,” Tong says.
With her dedication and commitment towards her extracurriculars, Nicole Tong will be successful when reaching her future goals.