Nick Bianco adds another award to his trophy case
COVID-19 may have derailed Massapequa High School the year for senior Nick Bianco, but it didn’t stop the multi-sport athlete from continuing to rack up awards. The track and field standout was most recently presented with the Special Achievement Award from the Nassau Track & Field and Cross Country Officials Association. The Massapequa native’s accomplishments both on the track and in the field, as well as for the qualities of scholarship, leadership and sportsmanship, were extraordinary enough for him to receive this once in a generation award that was last given out 30 years ago.
The last athlete to win the Special Achievement Award was Jay Fiedler in 1990, who went on to play quarterback for 12 seasons in the NFL for a number of teams including the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins. Bianco didn’t even know he’d been nominated for the award until the plaque was delivered to his home. Understandably, he was humbled by the recognition.
“I feel beyond honored to have received this award,” he said. “To be given the same award as Jay Fielder is a huge accomplishment and makes me proud of all the hard work i have put in over the years.”
While Bianco’s first foray into competitive sports began with his trying out for the Berner Middle School volleyball team back in seventh grade, he followed that and became a hurdler on the track team. He ascended to the varsity squad in ninth grade, where he began a dominating high school track and field career that included two All-State, eight All-Long Island, seven All-County and seven All-Conference selections. Having added pole vaulting to his repertoire in his sophomore year, Bianco’s dedication found him spending the summer prior to his junior year traveling to New Jersey to train with specialized coaches, where he dedicated himself to mastering the sport, while also seeing it as a way to build arm and core strength. He also started competing in other track and field events including javelin, high hurdles, decathlon and pentathlon.
It’s the kind of work ethic that has continually impressed Rich Degnan, Bianco’s high school track coach.
“To watch Nick compete is amazing,” Coach Degnan said. “He is the first to be at practice and the last to leave. His sportsmanship is legendary amongst the officials and his competitors. His ability to accept and then excel in every challenge I have presented him both with training and competing is a trait which separates him from his peers.”
This razor-sharp focus led to great success in the decathlon, a mix of 10 events. It was here where Bianco placed 10th in the country last year at the national competition in North Carolina. He also entered the most recent winter track season ranked seventh in the nation in the pentathlon, which is five track and field events, but the national competition was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, Bianco’s goal for the spring was to break Fiedler’s outdoor pentathlon record but the season’s premature ending prevented him from doing that.
That said, Bianco leaves behind a considerable legacy behind him that includes his ranking fifth all time in New York State in the decathlon with 6,100 points and receiving the Nassau Track and Field Officials 2020 athlete of the year and USATF Long Island Junior Field Event 2019 athlete of the year awards. It’s been quite a ride for him that’s allowed him to move on quite satisfied with how everything turned out.
“The sudden end of my high school track career was unfortunate but I am still happy with my overall accomplishments as a Chief,” he said.
Bianco kept busy in the fall as a member of the 2019 Nassau County champion boys volleyball team. During his sophomore year, he played on the junior varsity basketball team. He credits his success to his parents, Degnan and his teammates, who all proved to be a constant source of motivation. With the spring track and field season halted, the multi-sport standout and his dad built a gym in his backyard to stay active, and he also did distance running and sprints.
Bianco’s college career finds him heading west to the University of Colorado, where Bianco will join the Buffaloes as a member of the track and field team this fall. He said one of the reasons he chose the school is because six of the seven coaches are former Olympians in their respective events.
“I want to learn from the best of the best, and get to be the best that I can be,” he said. “Getting an offer from a college was rewarding knowing that my hard work paid off.”
Bianco plans to major in integrative physiology, which studies whole-body functions and its applications to human health. He is particularly interested in the scientific aspects of health and fitness, and wants to enter the education field, in addition to coaching.