Brooklyn track stars take home Wingate Awards

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Two of Brooklyn’s top track stars were left with plenty to celebrate as their careers draw to close.

Midwood boys’ distance runner Billy Hector and Medgar Evers girls’ jumper Ashley Tasher can both call themselves Wingate Award winners — and future Division I athletes.

The Public School Athletic League gives out the Wingate honors to the city’s top male and female senior student athletes in their respective sports. Hector, who is headed to Binghamton in the fall, and Tasher, an Arkansas commit, each took home the award for outdoor track and field during a ceremony at the Brooklyn Marriott on June 9, confirming that all their hard work was worth it.

“It means I worked very hard this year to get my goals and the league acknowledged that,” Hector said. “It means a lot to me.”

He leaves the Hornets as the school’s record holder in the 1000, 1600, 3000 and 3200 meters and also in the 5K cross-country race. As a senior he brought home the outdoor Mayor’s Cup crown and the Public School Athletic League City championship in the 1600. He was also the anchor leg to the school’s city-title-winning 4 x 800 relay team.

“It’s very special because I have a place in Midwood history,” Hector said. “Another guy is going to come after my records.”

He heads to Binghamton hoping to follow in the footsteps of future teammate Jesse Garn, who broke a four-minute mile (3:59.37) in March. Seeing what Bearcats head coach Mike Thompson and his staff did for Garn piqued Hector’s interest in the school. Binghamton also has a strong program in computer science, which Hector hopes to major in.

“I didn’t hear a bad review about the school from anybody who went there,” he said.

In Tasher’s case, it was the loyalty Arkansas showed her that made her commit. The Razorbacks were interested in her as a sophomore and courted her aggressively as her senior year began.

“They were there with me from the inception, so I wanted to go with who had supported me throughout my career,” Tasher said.

As a senior who was also a member of Medgar Evers’ city championship 4 x 100 relay team, Tasher took home the league’s outdoor crown in the triple jump with a leap of 37-feet, 11.50 inches and was second in the event at the Mayor’s Cup. Tasher has helped the Cougars move past Benjamin Cardozo as the city’s top girls’ track program by winning both the league’s indoor and outdoor crowns.

“It’s a growing process with everyone putting in their work to do what they have to do to make the program grow,” Tasher said.

Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.
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