When the time came for Shane McGuire to make a decision he didn’t hesitate. The Huntington High School track star turned away other offers and accepted a scholarship to the University at Buffalo. He hasn’t looked back since.
McGuire has led a charmed athletic life, winning county, state and national track titles with the Blue Devils last winter and spring. The hardworking teenager is popular with his teammates and his coaches find him easy to work with.
“I chose Buffalo for many reasons,” McGuire said. “Hearing the amount of excitement on the phone from Coach Todd [Witzleben] on the first day of recruitment led to more contact with him and later an opportunity to meet the team. Although I had other offers, my first visit to Buffalo felt like home. It’s a team that I feel like I can make an impact on immediately.”
The Huntington teenager intends to study criminology and eventually pursue a career as a detective or investigator. He’s compiled a solid academic record over the past four years and appears well positioned for the rigors of college coursework.
“My high school experience has really been more than I could ever ask for,” McGuire said. “Having switched midway through my high school career from basketball to winter track was one of the hardest decisions of my life. However, I followed what I thought was right and my teammates and I won the national championship that winter. I made friends and met people that will be there forever.”
Outside of class and sports, McGuire has participated in Huntington’s Relay For Life fundraiser for the American Cancer Society and also been involved in the town’s Project Play summer program for disadvantaged youth. “Coach Kevin Thorbourne has helped me get active in helping the community,” the teenager said.
As his four year at Huntington High School nears the finish line, McGuire has grown reflective. “It’s hard to choose only a couple of teachers as my favorites, but the ones that have been most influential on me are Mr. [Michael] Schwendemann, Ms. [Judy] Pazienza and Mr. [Michael] Graziano,” the senior said. “Mr. Graz set me up on the path for high school and gave life lessons to take away also. Ms. Paz helped me stay determined in physics even when I was struggling. I got to know Mr. Schwendemann well since I had him as teacher twice. He has been a great mentor for me throughout high school.”
As a three season athlete, McGuire has grown close to his coaches, including Ron Wilson, Eli Acosta and Shawn Anderson. All three have influenced him athletically and personally.
“There’s too much to talk about concerning Coach Wilson, but he has motivated me to always be better on the track and as a person,” McGuire said. “He also makes time to crack his jokes to toughen me up. Coach Acosta made sure I challenge myself in practice and meets. Coach Anderson was always on my side over the past four years and has helped me gain confidence in my abilities.”
Highlights of his high school years “are hard to choose,” but winning the outdoor nationals when just about no one gave the Blue Devils a chance of duplicating their winter magic is at the top along with breaking a 50 year old state 4x400m relay record with teammates Infinite Tucker, Lawrence Leake and Kyree Johnson.
His teammates have been there for McGuire through thick and thin, in good times and bad, always encouraging him to work hard to reach his goals as the Huntington track team seeks to capture state and national crowns.
“Shane isn’t my friend, he’s my brother and so if I see him struggle, of course I’m going to be by his side pushing him to strive for the best,” Johnson said. “He is a very talented athlete that can play multiple sports. Shane is our secret weapon.”
Another memorable moment for McGuire came when he stood by and watched Eli Mollineaux score a 50 yard touchdown before a crowd of 2,000 on a special day dedicated to the young man who meant so much to the community.
“What I would tell the incoming freshmen is working hard always reaps benefits,” McGuire said. “Appreciate high school because it goes by quickly.”