December 15 was Early Decision Day for many colleges, and the University of Pennsylvania wasted no time in their pursuit of a star for their rising track program. Hopkinton Senior Sean Golembiewski, the fastest runner in school history, signed his letter of intent to attend UPenn next Fall, joining the team as a decathlete.
As a Junior, Golembiewski set school records for the fastest 55m hurdles, 110m hurdles, 100m dash, and indoor high jump.
“I am so excited to join the team at Penn,” said Golembiewski. “I knew it was the right fit for me from the start.”
“We saw early on that Sean had an affinity for the hurdles. He picked up the technique quickly and was able to race much earlier than his peers,” said HHS Track and Field Coach Mike Donahue. “But off the track, Sean is reserved, quite bright, and supportive of his teammates. He never complains, but he isn’t afraid to speak up for himself or others. He is a quiet leader.”
After he announced his decision, we sat down with Sean to ask him about his high school career, renewing old rivalries, and his plans for the future.
Were you always athletically talented? When did you know you were a good runner? When I was younger I was a pretty good soccer player. I was a goalie first, and then I switched to the field, but I was never fast. I was actually really slow. So I had to work on my technique to keep the ball at my feet. And then around 8th grade I tried track, and I only did the high jump. Then in 9th grade, at our first practice, Coach (Brian) Prescott told Declan (Mick) and me to “go try the hurdles”. So we did, and it just stuck.
Looking back on your high school career, what is your proudest moment? Definitely placing sixth overall at Nationals to gain All-American status. I was so excited to make the trip and to run on the track at the University of Oregon. Coach Prescott came with me, and I wasn’t seeded that high – maybe #15 overall. So in the first heat I made it to the top nine finishers, which put me into the finals, and then in the finals I finished sixth overall. I was really happy with my performance that day.
Speaking of high school, you are the current record holder for the 55 meter and 110 meter hurdles, and the Dash too. Along the way you’ve collected several accolades for both track and soccer. You were a TVL MVP, MetroWest All-Star, 2022 Boston Herald All Scholastic, Eastern Massachusetts All-Star, TVL All-Star, 2022 Boston Global All-Star, 7-time TVL Champion, and a Nike All-American. Has any of that sunk in? I mean, it’s great to be recognized for your achievements, and I’m always happy to win an award, but then I just think I need to keep working.
Going back to States last year, you were up against some very good competitors in Seniors Jordany Volquez of Lawrence and Easton Tan of Winchester, both of whom are record holders in their own right. You placed third behind Easton, with a 14.24. How did you feel after that race? It was a great race. I always go in to every race thinking I’m going to win, so of course I tried my best to win, but those are two of the best hurdlers in Massachusetts history. So I was definitely happy with the result. In 2021 I made it to States too, but I fell during the race, so for me this year the biggest goal was just to finish the race. I was really happy to come in third against those guys.
And now Easton Tan is part of the Princeton team. What do you think of going up against him again? Yeah, I hope to see him at some races. He’s a really nice guy. He pushed me all throughout high school. Both he and Jordany helped me improve my times so much.
What are your goals for your senior year? My first goal is to win States. But beyond that, I want to make it through the season injury free, and if I do, I hope to be able to set another record. Easton has it today at 13:84. I feel that’s within my reach.
What were some of the other schools you considered, and why did you pick UPenn? My top four were UPenn, Cornell, Princeton, and Williams. In the end it came down to UPenn and Princeton, and I picked UPenn because of how perfect it was all around. They are building a beautiful new indoor track facility, which will be done by my sophomore year. Coach Klim is so cool and he knows so much about track; I felt like we really connected. And I like the team. When I visited I was hosted by a guy who was a Singapore National Champion and I spent the weekend getting to know the team. I was blown away by the amount of talent. I know those guys will push me to get better.
If heaven exists, what would you like God to say when you arrive at the pearly gates? I think reassurance that I made the most out of my life, and that I put 100% into everything I do. I feel like there’s no point in living if you don’t do that.