YORKTOWN, N.Y. - Yorktown senior captain Omar Tabanjeh, who was in his first year competing in winter track but has competed in spring track all during high school, took first place at the Section 1 Class A championships at the Armory in New York City, clearing 6 feet. Tabanjeh was also a kicker for the Yorktown football team this past fall.
How old were you when you started running track and what got you started?
I started running track the spring of my freshman year. The fact that my uncle was a part of the Jordanian national team when he was in college inspired me, but I also saw it as an opportunity to stay in shape and continue competing in athletics.
What is your favorite thing about being on the Yorktown track and field team?
Definitely going to meets all over, whether it be the Armory or many other places during the spring such as North Rockland for the Red Raider Relay.
What is your favorite team activity or pre-meet or post-meet ritual that you share with your teammates? What about a personal pre-meet or post-meet ritual?
I loved was when we’d play “Multiplayer Flappy Golf 2” on the way to the Armory. I usually run a lap or two then stretch and use hurdles as a way to do more dynamic stretches.
Who has been your biggest role model over the years and what have you learned from them?
My parents. We first moved to the states from Jordan when I was about 5 or 6. Having parents who grew up in a totally different world—there’s so much you can learn. They have taught me to take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and to work my hardest. My dad always taught me to never do anything unless I’m doing it perfectly, so that has been some of my biggest motivation.
Tell us one thing about yourself that not a lot of people know?
English is my second language. Arabic is my first.
Do you plan to continue running track in college?
One of my options for school would give me the opportunity to continue both track and football. However, with my top school, after speaking to both football and track coaches, I would have to choose one or the other. They’re both sports I love to play, so that will be a tough decision to make when it comes time.
Tell us about where you are going to school and why you chose it.
I haven’t committed anywhere yet, but my top school is Sacred Heart University. The second I stepped on campus at an open house, I fell in love with the school. The campus is beautiful and the community is just amazing. Besides, if I do go, I won’t be the only one from the my high school or this area going, since there are so many who are planning on attending this fall.
What are you planning on studying at college and why?
I want to double major in political science and psychology. I hope to take these degrees and continue on to law school.
Who is your favorite professional athlete and pro (or college sports) team?
As a kicker, my favorite athlete is Justin Tucker. As a high jumper, my favorite athlete is Mutaz Essa Bashrim from Qatar. My favorite college team is Syracuse. My favorite pro team is Manchester United.
What is your favorite music to listen to warming up for a meet?
I listen to a variety of music. I listen to hip-hop to get me hyped up and ready to compete, but then I listen to classical piano because it helps calm me down and focus on my events.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
I feel like I’m flying through the air when I’m going over the bar—and love that feeling—so, definitely being able to fly.
If you could pick one place to visit on vacation that you’ve never been to, where would you go and why?
Hawaii has always been a place I’ve wanted to visit. I’ve always wanted to hike the volcanoes and see the islands from the top.
What is your favorite food to eat before or after a meet?
I’ll eat practically anything. Last spring season we had a meet and I didn’t get the chance to eat before, so my mom bought me Burger King and I was just eating it mid jumps.
Best place to eat in Yorktown and why?
My two personal favorites are Dante’s Deli and Yorktown Pizza and Pasta(YPP). YPP was always great after football games and Dante’s was always great after running sessions for football during the summer, and before weekend meets when we left early in the morning.
Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? Why?
Twitter. There’s never a dull moment on Twitter. I can always find funny content while also getting the latest news.
For a young athlete growing up in the Yorktown district, what would you tell them about the experience of being part of the track and field team and why should they go out for the team?
I would tell them enjoy it. Athletics have been a huge part of my high school career and some of the best memories I’ve made have come from sports. So, if a kid may not be interested in track, I’d tell them to give it a try. If they don’t want to, I’d tell them to definitely try a different sport. A large number of students at Yorktown High School compete in sports because the friends and memories they make will last a lifetime.
How does being a kicker on the football team help you in track and vice versa?
As a kicker, there’s a lot of pressure to perform, so being able to conquer the pressure helps me. Especially with high jump, when I feel like the entire world is watching. It helps me to focus and not get distracted when it’s time to show up.