A ravenous Nick Hespe sits down for his fourth meal of the day. This is no surprise coming from a student athlete constantly on the go. Hespe, a CAS freshman, is a new pole vaulter on the NYU Track and Field team with high hopes for his upcoming spring season.
“In the winter, I did not do as well I was hoping for,” Hespe said. “I’m going into spring to qualify for some major meets, like one in Princeton.”
At NYU, the athleticism of the student body is often kicked to the wayside. Students like Hespe, however, show not only physical strength, but also an ability to balance school and sports.
Spikes and tape
Giveaways to Hespe’s talent as a pole vaulter are his spikes and tape. The tape, tarnished from wear against the track, is used to wrap the poles for better gripping. The spikes are specialized for field events, although Hespe describes them simply as shoes with spikes on them.
If you have never seen a roller stick before, it seems strange – like marshmallows strung together. However, Hespe said it is essential for stretching and working muscles more effectively. The plastic rod has rotating, round pieces that slide against the leg to distribute lactic acid, which stretches the muscles.
“The whole team has them,” Hespe said. “They’re small and easier to carry around than the big foam rollers.”
Blender bottle and Clif bar
It may seem cliché to see remnants of a protein shake in an athlete’s bag. However, protein is more than necessary for Hespe.
“I can’t be sore when I have practice every day,” he said. “You’ve got to rebuild the muscles you’re working.”
The chocolate whey protein shake and Clif bar serve to keep him off the edge of hunger and maintain the vital amount of protein for building and repairing muscle.
As a young male and intensive athlete, Hespe’s stomach might as well be a bottomless pit. A banana gives him a potassium and sugar boost.
“I am hungry literally all the time,” he said, while eagerly eating a Quiznos sub. Knowing that he burns calories quickly, Hespe always carries snacks to supplement his 19-meals-a-week plan that cannot satisfy his enormous appetite.
Hespe is also constantly trying to combat soreness. It all comes with the territory of being a pole vaulter — his body always aches. Hespe accepts the pain as part of his event, a sport that pushes the body to its limits in an acrobatic motion.
However, despite the aches, pains, eternal hunger and stiff competition, Hespe regrets nothing about his decision to join the NYU Track and Field Team.
“[It’s] a great sense of community,” Hespe said.
The team, recently returning from a training trip to Florida, is excited for their upcoming season together. As a freshman, Hespe has time to grow as an athlete with his peers and continue his passion.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, March 31 print edition. Catherine Wright is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.