ROXBURY, NJ - Roxbury High School saw two senior track and field athletes, Karly Forker and Kevin Sembrat, sign letters of intent on Wednesday to continue their running careers at institutions of higher learning. Forker will continue running for Bucknell University this fall with Sembrat competing for West Point Military Academy.
Both athletes have seen success here in Roxbury and their coaches Laura Schmidt and Derek Bischoff have no doubt that they’ll continue to have success moving forward at the next level.
Coach Bischoff shared, “It is another exciting day for our program. We have the opportunity to acknowledge the accomplishments of two of our athletes and celebrate the exciting opportunity they have to continue their academic and athletic careers at such great institutions. Karly and Kevin have given our program a lot to be proud of over the last few seasons.”
With their outdoor seasons still remaining, Forker has already set six school records in both relay and individual events. As a member of the Sprint Medley Relay and 4x400 Meter Relay teams, she helped set the fastest time run by any school in Morris County history. She has won multiple Morris County and State Sectional Championships as a member of those relay teams.
During the indoor season, Forker anchored the Sprint Medley Relay team that won the Group 3 State Championship. She added a Group 3 State Championship in the 800 Meters and a Morris County Championship in the 600 meters. She finished third at the New Jersey Meet of Champions while running a top 40 time in the United States. Forker has competed individually and as a relay team member at the Indoor and Outdoor National Championships, where their relay team placed ninth in the country.
Sembrat leaves Roxbury High School too with numerous accomplishments. He holds almost every school record in the events he participated in. He holds school records in the 200-meter (indoor and outdoor), 300-meter (indoor), and 400-meter (indoor and outdoor) dashes. This includes running the fastest 400-meter time in Morris Count history this past indoor season.
He repeated as the State Sectional Champion in the 400 meters and the Morris County Champion in the 300 meters this season. He did so while running the second fastest 400-meter and third fastest 300-meter times in New Jersey. Those times were both good enough for top 40 times in the United States as well.
Over his career, Kevin has won four Morris County Championships and six State Sectional Championships. He has qualified to run the 200-meter and the 400-meter dashes at the Indoor and Outdoor National Championships as well as qualifying in the 4x400 Meter Relay.
“To see what Karly and Kevin have accomplished over their careers and think it came naturally would be short-sighted and it would diminish how hard they have worked to earn each of these accomplishments. They are special kids and they are great leaders for our program,” explained Bischoff.
Adding, “Their performance aren’t what make them special. What makes them special is their determination and their ability to overcome whatever obstacles are put in front of them. The drive to succeed and the commitment they have are amazing to witness. I feel fortunate to be able to do so on a daily basis. Without a doubt, these qualities have played a large part in them earning the opportunity we are here to celebrate today. Karly and Kevin will be great representatives of our program, our school, and community as they enter this next phase of their lives. We are so excited for them and couldn’t be any more proud of them.”
These two impressive athletes came to the sport freshman year with little to no experience. Coach Schmidt echoed Bischoff’s sentiment on how hard these two student-athletes worked saying, “One of my favorite things about both of them is they both came out for track as Freshman without having much if any experience and have truly worked hard to accomplish everything that they have both individually and for their teams. Both of them have an intense attention to detail that truly sets them apart from other elite athletes. They are students of their sport.”
Adding, “Karly has come to dominate the middle distances while Kevin has excelled in the sprints and jumps. Although they have each accomplished so much already, we cannot wait to check off a few more goals this spring before they continue their academic and athletic careers in college. We are truly going to miss their leadership, athleticism, and intensity on our team, but I am certain both of them will continue to thrive at the next level.”
Their successes didn’t happen overnight. Hard work, determination, help, and guidance from others played a huge role in their accomplishments and goals.
Sembrat shared regarding his signing, “Today, I will officially commit myself to compete as a track and field athlete for the United States Military Academy at West Point. As my parents, coaches, and anyone who knows me personally can attest to, becoming a cadet at West Point has been a dream of mine long before I came to Roxbury as a freshman. While acceptance to the Academy was a goal I held above any other, including those on the track, my passion for running has definitely helped shape me into the man I am today. And although I invested everything I had in attaining this goal, it was not solely achieved.”
Sembrat credits his faith in God for helping him earn his achievements. “I am tremendously grateful for every one of my supporters. Through training, competition, health, injury, victory, and defeat, God has been and remains with me every lap around the track. He is the one who gives me strength when I am unable to continue in any and all aspects of my life. His plan is truly greater.”
He also recognized his coach and friend, Derek Bischoff for his unwavering dedication to his personal and athletic development. “His contagious obsession with self-improvement inspires all who cross paths with him; this is an exceptionally rare quality.”
Adding, “I must also thank my parents, coaches, teachers, and teammates for their support on and off the track. From early morning weight room lifts before the sun rose to late night meets that kept us running long after the sun had set, the level of commitment I had to my goals was always matched by all those remarkable people.”
Forker approached the sport differently as a freshman. She explained how being a part of the Roxbury Track and Field program has been the most rewarding experience of her life. “I cannot express how much this journey has impacted me. From joining the team for fun my freshman year, I have grown to love everything that track encompasses- from the competitive aspects to the lessons it has taught me about determination, teamwork, and grit. The difficulties and hard times I have faced on the track will certainly prepare me for my college career, but overcoming those difficulties with the help of my coaches and teammates is what will help me through life in general.”
“With that being said, I cannot express how grateful I am for my coaches and teammates. They made this dream possible. In a sport that is both physically and mentally demanding, the environment that the team has created is truly something I am glad to have experienced and am proud to be a part of. I never would have imagined track would take me to where I am now, and I am extremely appreciative of all the opportunities this program has given me. Through this program, I have learned the importance of having a winning attitude and a positive mindset, and I am excited to carry everything I’ve learned at Roxbury with me as I continue my career at Bucknell.”
Sembrat shared Forker’s feelings about the lessons learned as a Gael and carrying those forward in the future saying, “Competing as a Roxbury Gael in not only track, but football and wrestling as well has instilled in me the values of sportsmanship, perseverance, and the undeniable satisfaction that is felt when a goal is achieved. I am certain that the values instilled in me during my career at Roxbury will remain with me through my years at West Point and in my service beyond the Academy.”