Athlete’s Spotlight: Westborough High School’s (WHS) Naloti Palma
By Ryan Massad, Contributing Writer
Team: Westborough High track team
Coach: Rick Hebert
Notables: Undefeated in both discuss and shot put during the outdoor track season; also holds school record in both events.
Please tell us a little about yourself.
“My name is Naloti Palma. I am 18 years old, and a recent graduate of Westborough High School. My hobbies are kayaking, writing, white water rafting, pottery and Girl Scouts. I’m also interested in sociology, psychology, law and art.”
When did you first get involved with throwing discus/shot put?
“I first got involved with throwing discus/shot put during the spring of my freshman year, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
What do you like most about them?
“What I like most about throwing is that whatever I put into it, I get out of it. I also like being able to help those joining the events for the first time, teaching them techniques. Shot put and discus are events that take a lot of time, practice and dedication, but when all the pieces come together, it’s all worth it.”
What other sports/extracurricular activities do you take part in? How are they similar?
“During my time at Westborough High, I was a member of the pottery club, I submitted to the literary magazine, and I helped coach middle school track and field. Pottery is very different from throwing, of course. It’s more of a laid-back activity that requires creativity and an open mind. I found writing for the literary magazine to actually be a lot more like throwing. I would clear my mind, focus on what I was writing, and put everything I had into it. As for coaching middle school kids, like throwing, I found it to be challenging, as well as rewarding.”
Which of your four years on the track team have been the most special and why?
“This year I graduated from Westborough High, and looking back on my time as a student-athlete, I would have to say this year meant the most to me. I knew it was my last year as an athlete for the track team, so I wanted to make it a year I wouldn’t forget. This year I had the privilege of being part of a team of girls who worked hard, and refused to settle for less than their best. Every meet I would be surprised by my team’s ability to rise up against the top talent of the competition.”
What is a personal achievement that you’re particularly proud of?
“I’m proud that I learned how to be a better teammate this year. Being able to compete better at bigger meets, and getting the most out of my practices, while still being able to help out my teammates.”
How has Coach Hebert encouraged you to succeed?
“Through my four years at the high school, Coach Hebert has been everything an athlete could ask for in a coach. He has helped me stay positive when I’m having a bad throwing day. He’s challenged me, and encouraged me to reach my goals. Also, he’s supported me, and believed in me 100 percent.”
Has any particular teammate pushed you along the way?
“My teammate Kim Bretta really helped me out this season. She always had something positive to say. She was there when I just needed someone to make me laugh, and had something encouraging to say whenever I had a bad meet. She’s a great athlete and an amazing friend. Her commitment, determination, and positive attitude make her a great teammate, captain and above all one of my best friends.”
What is your favorite class in school and why?
“My favorite class in school would have to be ‘Facing History.’ It helped me explore the effects of racism, prejudice and anti-Semitism. It made me understand how important it is to stand up for what I believe in, and it helped me figure who I am as a person.”
What do you want your legacy at Westborough High to be?
“On the track field, I want to be remembered as an athlete with class, but also as an athlete who supported her teammates and dared them to succeed. Off the field, I want to be known as a student who was resilient, set goals with hopes to achieve them, and never gave up on her dreams.”
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