Senior Profile: Derek Palafox

If you know of any senior whose accomplishments make him or her a candidate for a profile, please contact me at

Senior Profile: Derek Palafox

School: Bellport High School, Brookhaven, N.Y.

While a late-season injury in cross country prevented Derek Palafox from competing at the state level last fall, he is now healthy and optimistic. A 9:43/4:22 performer on the track at 3,200 meters and 1,600 meters, Palafox is one of a number of strong distance prospects coming out of Suffolk County. He ran a 1:56 leg (PR split is 1:55.2) on Bellport’s 10th place 4x800 (7:48.84) at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals, combining with Brandon Santana, Sheldon Derenoncourt, and Travis Correa.

Tell me about last cross country season.

At the division championship I was running through the moat at Sunken Meadow Park and I twisted and sprained my ankle. It ended the season for me. It was pretty devastating.

Can you describe a memorable race?

Last year at the Warwick Wave Invitational I won my race with a 16:30. That was a PR.

Are you interested in running in college?

Yes. I’ve been looking everywhere I guess. I don’t really know about the college situation yet. I’ve been thinking of studying sports medicine. Stony Brook, Georgetown, Buffalo, East Stroudsburg and Bucknell have contacted me.

What are your goals for this season?

To make it to States for the first time and to stay healthy. To try and get as far up as I can at States.

Why do you run? What motivates you?

My coach (Dan Jennings). Definitely my coach. He helps us out a lot. Does so much for us. I never want to let him down. That’s a big motivator. He keeps us going every day.

Quote: “He’s very quiet, very driven. He’s been our leader for the past four years.” – Bellport XC Coach Dan Jennings