She’s Walking to Glory


Slater's Slant







By Chuck Slater




Amelia Cuomo was fascinated by racewalking. (PHOTO COURTESY OF JOSEPH SCELIA)

Brewster senior Amelia Cuomo got into track and field almost by accident in the seventh grade after running a surprisingly fast mile to show she was fit for another sport. The following year at a meet in Rockland, she became intrigued by the seldom-done racewalk. “It looks like fun,” she told veteran Brewster coach Joe Scelia. “I’d like to try it.”

Soon it wasn’t just fun. It was also record setting. She now holds the Section 1 record of 6 minutes 38 seconds for the normal local distance of 1,500 meters. And recently at the New Balance Indoor Nationals at the Armory, she set the section record for the full mile of 7:08.65 in finishing third. It smashed her previous mark by more than eight seconds.

“I hope this inspires others to pursue the event,” said the 5-foot, 6-inch Cuomo, who is a Brewster captain. “Unlike running, there’s more to it than just stepping on the track and going fast. Form is very important, too.”

“As a junior Amelia really started to excel,” said Scelia. “She was All-State and All-American and finished fourth in the State meet. And this year she has been all but unbeatable. Only national champion Lauren Harris of Long Island has bested her. She has won the State qualifier, the Northern County championship, the Class A sectional and the league title.”

Scelia is the first to admit racewalking is not his prime area of expertise. “She has the endurance, the distance running,” the coach said. “She’s finished a marathon, you know. She’s figured out the technical aspects of it (racewalking).   The distance training I knew. I could help her with it. But she would modify it a little differently.”

If the directive were to run six miles, Cuomo would run three and walk three. “She’s a great captain, a great leader,” the coach said. “Even if there’s no practice, she’ll get her work in. She has a tremendous work ethic.”

She is also a tremendous student. Her GPA is an awesome 98.3. She hasn’t picked her college yet, but it will be a fine Division 1 school; however, none of them offers racewalking, which she plans to continue on the outside.

At the Nationals, Olympian Maria Mitchell-Coffey urged her to continue her racewalking. “She gave me hope for the future,” Amelia Cuomo said. “Compete internationally some day in racewalking? That would be incredible.”

March 29, 2017 |

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