Athlete of the Year: Michael Hermance, Colonie
Times Union Story
Growth as an athlete and teammate was all about trust for Colonie senior Michael Hermance.
Trust in his teammates as part of the Garnet Raiders’ 400-meter relay team, from the commitment to the team success all the way down to the not-at-easy-as-it-looks baton pass and faith in the coaches who helped him elevate his performance that has turned into an opportunity to compete for the UAlbany track team in the fall.
The beginning of the season saw Colonie set its focus on lowering the Section II record in the 400 relay and as the season went along, the quartet continued to lower its times before smashing the 13-year old mark twice in two days.
“It was crazy, throughout the whole season. There are going to be times where people are feeling what is going to happen isn’t going to happen, someone gets hurt, things like that,” Hermance said. “I really think the coaches helped us hold together, them believing in us helped us believe that we could do this and do better than we planned on doing.”
Running the anchor leg, Hermance, who finished third in the state meet in the 100, clinched the state championship for he and season-long teammates Josiah Kemp, Shai Young and Cristian Hubbard as the time of 41.52 wiped out the former mark of 42.13 set by Colonie in 2006.
“At states, it came up that we might not have our original (relay team) due to injuries,” Hermance said. “We didn’t want to finish without the relay that we’ve been primarily going the whole season with. To be able to get the title with the guys who got us there and all of us wanting to be together. One team, one family.”
In the Federation championship the following day, the Garnet Raiders were even faster, finishing in 41.39 to finish ahead of Schenectady for the title.
Hermance was quick to credit head coach Mike Palmer along with assistants Lisa Paparone and Gabe Young.
“I owe everything to Lisa Pap, I owe everything to Coach Palmer and Coach Gabe,” Hermance said. “Those were the three that held me together pretty much my whole high school career. She (Paparone) knew that I wanted to run in college and she knew I could run Division I, she helped so much.
“I owe so much to her. I’d tell her that but I don’t think she’d fully understand how much, no matter how much I show it.”