VERONA, NJ - Described as a hardworking athlete with a quiet demeanor, Karishma Parekh has proven to be a key member of Verona's Winter Track & Field Team in her four years at Verona High School.  Most recently she anchored two medal distance relay teams at the Leon Bailey Relays and helped her team earn a second place finish at the SEC Championships earning her this week's TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove's Hillbilly Athlete of the Week honors. 

"It's a great honor to be named Athlete of the Week," Parekh said.  "I'm really proud of how strong our season has been so far -- we placed second out of 15 teams at the SEC Championships."

The senior captain has been running for VHS winter and spring track since she was a freshman, and ventured into cross country running in her junior year.  She competes in the 800m, the 1600m and occasionally runs the 1200m. In addition to her races at the Leon Bailey Relays, Parekh placed second in the 3200m and fifth in the 1600m at the SEC Championships.

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"Placing second in the 3200m at the SEC Championship was the highlight of the season for me so far, because it was the first time I ever ran the event and I was happy to get a good time and place."  Parekh explained.  "It was a great feeling."

Coach Gene Leporati credits Parekh with being a key part of that supportive environment.  "Karishma is a hardworking athlete who always maintains a soft and gentile demeanor, which has earned her the respect and admiration of her teammates," Leporati said.  "She is always supportive, understanding and reliable whether it be at practice or during competition.  She will continue to play a big role throughout the rest of our winter track season."

Looking ahead Parekh plans to continue working hard and improving her race times, as well as hoping for some warmer weather.  

"I love track because I get to train with my friends everyday and the atmosphere is very supportive," she said.  "The weather can definitely be a challenge in winter track though.  Sometimes it is hard to stay positive because of how cold it is, but we help by motivating each other and packing on the layers."

TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove  is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.

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