Athlete of the Week: Sydney Buck


Senior Sydney Buck competing in a cross country meet.

Sydney Buck, senior, was honored as Jupiter High’s Athlete of the Week on Feb. 15. Buck was nominated by Erica Sanders, her cross country coach, for leading the girls’ cross country team in the varsity tri-county championships and for being a determined and skilled athlete. 

Jupiter High’s cross country team won first place at South County Regional Park in the tri-county championships on Dec. 12, defeating their toughest competitor, Spanish River High School.

Buck has been running cross country and track for six years and has been on Jupiter’s team for all four years of high school. Buck also leads both teams as captain. 

“I started running because I was pretty good at it, and it’s not like other sports. It’s a lot more challenging mentally than others,” Buck said. “I can be in the best shape I’ve ever been in but if my mind isn’t where it should be I won’t do well in a race.” 

Buck is a key part of her team, and Sanders appreciates her efforts at both meets and practices. Sanders also wanted to recognize Buck for her academic accomplishments.

“I nominated Sydney because she is a role model student athlete,” Sanders said. “She is not just a great runner but also an outstanding student and team leader.” 

Buck has learned leadership skills from Sanders and Al Wester, a “team dad” who became a mentor for her.

“My teammates, my coach, and Mr. Wester motivate me to work hard because they are always encouraging me,” Buck said. 

Sanders focuses on motivating her athletes and teaches them the importance of playing a sport and being a strong student. 

“I motivate my athletes to push themselves by emphasizing how great it feels to reach personal goals and always give 100%,” Sanders said. 

Buck’s peers look up to her for encouragement and ways to improve.

“[Buck] always strives for the highest she can get possible and that shows us that we want to be at the same level as her one day and we want to be as good as her,” Toni Contento, a freshman on varsity with Buck, said. “She always tells us if we keep working hard we can get better and that if we put our mind to it we can get it done.” 

While juggling both a sport and a hefty academic schedule is challenging, Buck is able to succeed at both through her own strategies.  

“I have been able to manage school and sports by focusing on one thing at a time,” she said. “When I’m at practice I focus on that. But when I get home I focus on school and my homework.” 

A big part of the running, for Buck, is her love for the sport itself, and she plans on continuing to run even after high school. 

“I will continue to run next year as a hobby. I like running more for fun than for sport,” Buck said. 

Buck doesn’t only run for the sport. She has also made great friends on the team who motivate her. 

“My favorite part of track is running with my friends Carlyn and Alexa,” Buck said. 

It’s important to Buck to love what she is doing, and her friends keep her coming back each year. 

“I would recommend finding people that you connect with in your sport and something that you really love about it because once you aren’t happy playing your sport anymore it becomes a chore,” Buck said. 

Buck has been pushed by her coaches and friends throughout her years at Jupiter High. 

“Coach Sanders and Mr. Wester made me the runner I am today, they both pushed me to become the best I could in running and in school,” Buck said. 

Sanders commented on Buck’s skills improving over the years.

“Sydney has improved in her strength, she is very petite and it was fun watching how strong she has become,” Sanders said. 

Track has made Buck a stronger person and helped her learn her strength. .

“Running has impacted my life because it has made me so much stronger mentally and physically,” Buck said. “I was able to push past a mental barrier and get under 20 minutes for my 5k. Now I know I can do things I never thought I could.”