Working hard is always the key to improvement. The difficult part is sometimes realizing just how hard you need to work. Deshawne Bunion, a sprinter at Rahway High School, found out in his junior year that effort brings success.
“I never had a record and I had one stolen from me at New Balance Nationals, I believe my junior year indoors. It was a 400 and my PR was actually the record,” said Bunion. “I just went out there and I didn’t run the way I was supposed to.”
“A sophomore from down south came and ran my PR and broke the record. That kind of hit me hard so from that moment I decided I was going to be different. I was going to work way harder and it got me through and I ended up shattering the school record for the 400,” added the senior.
The record that Bunion now holds for the school is 48.06, which he ran at the same venue a year later. Bunion placed sixth at the New Balance Nationals in 2015 and has continued to succeed in his final year at Rahway.
The winter season was filled with success as Bunion won his second consecutive 400 at the Group 2 championships and also won the 800 at the Union County championships. Bunion also helped win Rahway’s heat at Penn Relays, running a 48.36 split in the school’s 3:25.36 4×400 team.
Even though Bunion comes from a smaller school, he understands the big moments and isn’t afraid of them. He’s been in big situations for years.
“Since I was little I was running track in AAU nationals where you’re competing against thousands of kids,” said Bunion. “It always gives me kind of like a thrill moment and it’s never anxiety. It’s more of an excitement and it makes you want to go out there and perform for thousands of people. Let everyone know your name and who you are.”
“At Penn Relays this year, we didn’t come in as a dominant team, but we definitely aimed for winning our heat and we just went in with confidence and had fun as a team. I was proud of my teammates because they stepped up and dropped major PR’s,” added Bunion.
Bunion is always talking up his teammates. Rahway has a young squad and the senior feels like he can help the guys around him improve and make a difference. Bunion once again pulled from his experience to step into that role and he relishes in it.
“It came natural because even when I was younger, all the kids in the AAU team looked up to me. I still see those kids. Some of them run for Columbia and Union Catholic and they looked up to me,” said Bunion.
Bunion added, “Coming in to a school where I have a young squad, I get to see them on a daily basis to be a leader to them and I can say it works. They listen, try to learn from my mistakes and I try to learn from them.”
The senior is closing in on his last meets at Rahway and there are numbers in his head that he wants to capture before he leaves. 47.4 or 46.8 is the goal for Bunion and wants to help his team drop the 4×400 time to around 3:19 or 3:20.
Though Bunion’s high school career is ending, his college career will be taking place at LIU-Brooklyn with a full-athletic scholarship. The senior committed to become a Blackbird earlier this week and explained that he just felt comfortable in the city and enjoyed the team atmosphere.
“When I went on my visit it was really cool, the team was really cool and I kind of interacted with the team. It was very easy to get along with everybody. The coach (Simon Hodnett) was a very cool and funny guy. We connected right off the bat,” said Bunion.
“It was a connection thing and I felt what’s better than training in the city? I just felt like LIU was a better fit and I come from a small school so I didn’t mind going to a smaller college,” added the senior.
The setting will change in a few months, but the work ethic will never go away for Bunion and it should serve both him and LIU well in the future.
Staff Writer Matt Silva: email@example.com