What was your most memorable race/competition?
My most memorable race would probably have to be this past years state cross country meet. I hadn't been running the times i wanted to previous to state due to tendinitis issues, so my confidence level wasn't where it should've been. The team expectation was pretty high though. We all wanted a top finish as a team and to set personal records individually. I ran a great time of 16:18 and finished on the all-state team. My team ran exceptionally well finishing second overall. I'll always remember how it felt to feel the satisfaction of your hard work paying off.
Where did you face your biggest competition?
I faced my biggest competition at the Foot Locker South meet. I ran the senior race and faced guys who've ran in the low 15s. It was a great race to just go out hard and see what you have left, which is what i did. I finished 20th overall and claimed an all-south award,which was pretty nice.
Out of all of your high school accomplishments, which stands out the most?
Winning the 1600 and 3200 region title my junior year stands out as a pretty big accomplishment for me. I was confident that I could win the mile, but i didn't expect to win the two mile also, so that kinda took me by surprise. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend our region meet this past track season so i didn't get a chance to defend those titles, but it will still be an accomplishment that i'll always remember.
If you could do it all over again, what would you change about your athletic career in high school?
I would definitely hydrate for practice more often, lol, but seriously, I would probably take more advantage of the off seasons and get some good distance runs in. Also, i was a little neglectful of my weight room training, so if I could back, I'd probably lift more and do a lot more core.
What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
I had numerous obstacles I had to overcome in high school, one being the tendinitis in my lower leg my senior XC season. It made running a lot more painful and hard to endure, but I did my best to work through it with minimal complaints. Another obstacle was stepping up as captain my junior year. We had a very good senior lead team my freshman and sophomore year. Those seniors were great role models and really knew what to do/say in tough situations. So I worried I wouldn't be able to emulate their positive examples and be a good role model for the younger runners. But i did my best, and it all paid off in the end.
What will you miss the most?
I'll definitely miss my teammates and just the feeling of running cross country in the fall. The long Sunday runs, the hill workouts, and the ice baths. After running for so many years, it just seems strange that its all over and that I am no longer a high school athlete. I'll miss my coaches, and all the hard times I gave them, haha! But most importantly, the competition. South Carolina has really stepped it up in distance running since I began in the sport and getting to run against some of the fastest guys the state has seen in a while was a great honor, and I wish them the best in their future endeavors.
Do you have any advice for younger athletes?
Run, run, and keep running!!! I can't stress enough how important getting in your mileage is, it really does pay off in the end. Training consistently is also a must and speed will do you wonders, trust me. Also listen to your coaches, they know what their talking about, so just be patient and work with them. Don't take any shortcuts or slack off mid season, stay focus and strive towards your goals.
How have your coaches influenced your performances and your life goals overall?
Yes, very much. My running career would not be as successful as it was if it wasn't for my coaches Shane Sutherland and Dave Renneisen. They've taught me a lot about the sport of running, and given me quality advice on life in general. I will always remember what they taught me, and use those teachings as I move on in life.
What are your college plans?
I will be attending the University of South Carolina and majoring in biochemistry with medical school to follow. I plan on running track and field for the Gamecocks, with a few cross country races in the fall.
I'd like to thank my parents for being supportive of my running career all these years, and for buying all my shoes and track gear!! Also I'd like to thank my coaches for putting up with me for so long and staying positive no matter what, and to my teammates Evan Abdullah, Guy McCarter, and Ross Jordan. We will forever be the Fantastic Four!! And to the future Stratford runners, be great in whatever you shall do and continue to uphold the good name of Stratford Cross Country! Go Knights!!