Three Linden High School senior athletes are being honored for excelling on the field of play as well as in the classroom. From left are Samuel Aristizabal-Sanchez, Brooke Beyer and Kyle Lipscomb.
Beyer and Lipscomb will be honored by the Union County Interscholastic Athletic Conference on May 22 at The Westwood in Garwood, and Aristizabal-Sanchez will be honored by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association on May 19 at the Pines Manor in Edison.
“These three epitomize the term scholar athlete,” said Athletic Director Steven Viana. “They share similar characteristics in that they are truly gifted athletes, but what strikes me the most is how well-rounded, humble, and respectful they are. Their accomplishments in the classroom and on the fields of play are impressive, but what is most gratifying is what great young adults they have become. We couldn’t ask for better representatives to carry the flag for Linden athletics.”
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Samuel Aristizabal-Sanchez has played football and competed on the winter and spring track and field team for three years. He plans to attend Rutgers University in Newark and major in business finance.
On the football field, Aristizabal-Sanchez has been a starter on the offensive line for two years and represented Union County in the Autoland Classic all-star game against Middlesex County. He was named the All-Watchung Division first team
For the Tigers track and field team, Aristizabal-Sanchez competed in shot put. He was part of the relay team that won the county championships this past winter. He and Kyle Lipscomb placed second at the Group 4 relay championships for the winter season as well.
Aristizabal-Sanchez didn’t start competing in football or track until his sophomore season, making his accomplishment stand out even more.
“Earning a starting job in only my second year of playing football,” he said, “I count that as big for me.”
And it drew praise from his coach.
“Sam has been an honor to coach,” said head football coach Al Chiola. “His work ethic, respect for the game and leadership in the classroom are special.”
In the classroom, Aristizabal-Sanchez has a rigorous workload of International Baccalaureate classes in English, Math and Spanish, and manages to balance it with his commitment to athletics. He is also a member of the National Honor Society.
“I just focus on everything that I need to do,” he said. “I don’t go out with my friends at certain times because I have to practice or work out for a certain sport, or I have to study. Since I participate in my sports and I have IB classes, I always have something to do. I just have to manage my time.”
School counselor Samantha Kosty called Aristizabal-Sanchez “an amazing student and role model. Sam is always inspiring others and striving to help people to become the best version of themselves.
“Sam is hard-working and driven and does not let his personal obstacles hinder his academic and athletic achievements.”
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Brooke Beyer has competed in four varsity sports during her time at Linden High School, finishing her senior year as captain of the soccer, swimming and softball teams. She also played one season of varsity basketball.
She plans to start her college years at Union County College and the Muhlenberg School of Nursing, then finish in the nursing program at Kean University.
Beyer is a member of the National Honor Society, takes Spanish as part of the International Baccalaureate curriculum, and is an active member of the Dance Company. She said that juggling academics and extracurricular activities is something that she was brought up with.
“I’ve been playing sports since kindergarten or first-grade and I’ve always danced, too,” she said. “So I’ve always had the balance of having practice right after school, and right after practice you do your homework. It’s just a cycle. It is routine that everything had a certain time and a certain place for everything.”
Her coaches say she is a leader on and off the field.
“Brooke’s natural athleticism was very obvious, but her instincts and her ability to learn and absorb a lot of information in a short amount of time was what was most impressive to me,” said softball coach Valerie Tauriello. “I am consistently impressed and amazed how Brooke is able to juggle so much and excel at everything she takes part in. Brooke throws herself into these activities and gives 100 percent and strives to succeed. Brooke displays a positive attitude at all times, and it has been a pleasure to coach her.”
School counselor Samantha Kosty called her a “spectacular student.”
“Brooke is the perfect combination of intelligence, compassion, heart, beauty, and grit,” she said. “She continuously lives up to and exceeds all of the expectations that have been set for her, all while maintaining a balance between her home and school life.”
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Kyle Lipscomb is completing an extraordinary tenure in the LHS track and field program and is considered one of top athletes in the state in shot put and discus. He will attend Rutgers University in New Brunswick on a scholarship to the track and field team.
Lipscomb holds the school record in both events. This spring, he has already won the Union County championship in shot put. In this past winter track season, he was chosen first team All-State in shot put and finished with the longest throw of the season in the state. He finished first place in the county and Group 4 championships, and second in the Meet of Champions.
In the 2018 spring season, he finished first in shot put and second in discus at the Group 4 championship, and won both events at the Watchung Conference championship. He was also Union County discus champion.
Track and field coach Dan McDonald called Lipscomb “a coach’s dream.”
“Not only is he gifted athletically, but what he possesses between the ears has really separated him from his competition throughout his career,” he said. “He has tremendous leadership skills and has been the true definition of a leading by example. The best part about Kyle is if you walked by him in the hallway and have a conversation with him, you wouldn’t know how great he really is, as he is humble, hard working, consistent and a true scholar athlete.”
Lipscomb said all his hard work throughout high school has gotten him to where he is today.
“I get compliments from other people saying that I’ve grown, that I’m a good young man, that I work hard in school and hard on the field,” he said. “So I’m proud of that reputation.”
Lipscomb is undecided on a major at Rutgers, but is considering kinesiology. He said succeeding on the field and in the classroom is a matter of dividing your time.
“When I’m at practice, all that’s on my mind is practice and getting better and everything that I have to do to win the next big meet,” he said. “Then when I’m at home, I’m the same way; I’m focused all on homework, it doesn’t matter what time I finish.”
School counselor Laurie Juliano said Lipscomb sets a great example for other students.
“Training to excel in a sport and learning to master scholarly discipline both require tremendous amounts of time and motivation,” she said. “Kyle Lipscomb Jr. has proven himself to be the epitome of a scholar-athlete. Of all his accomplishments, I am the most proud of Kyle’s kind demeanor. He is truly a role model.”