Where are they now: Thornwell's Sara (Young) Lannom

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What was the biggest adjustment you had to make to compete at the college level?
The biggest adjustment for me was learning how I fit in on the team. Coming from the smallest high school in Class A track and field, I was a big fish in a little pond. When you go to college to compete, everyone you train with is a former state champion, or record holder of some sort. Once you make that adjustment, determine your strengths and weaknesses in the group environment you can be a catalyst for success for yourself and your team mates.

How would you rate your college running career and overall college experience?
I only competed at Clemson my freshman and sophomore years, both indoor and outdoor, 4 seasons. My coach and I did not see eye-to-eye on pole vault training techniques, so in the spring of 2005 I told the coaches it was my last, trained myself, and broke the school record. I used to look back with some pain and regret because I really wanted to be a national champion, but I am proud for graduating from Clemson in three years. Leaving was the hardest decision I had ever made, but there was no other option. I learned so much from that experience. It was the very best it could have been.

Is there anything you can tell high school athletes to better prepare them for the college experience?
Put your energy into being stronger, faster, smarter. Smile, and take business classes so you will know how to make money when you're not an Olympian with a million dollar Nike endorsement.

What memories from competing in high school stand out the most?
I always remember how hard the 400 meter hurdles were. My mom and dad screaming for me on that last 100 meter stretch. I remember standing on the pole vault runway at my last state track meet, being so dialed in that I didn't have to think, taking off and setting a new record. Everyone smiling. It was a fun ride!

What do you miss most about running in high school?
I miss the company. I miss socializing with people in an environment where you're always after a new goal, and the people around you want you to make it, and you help each other. I have a little bit of that now, but it's never enough.

What piece of coaching or advice that someone gave you has been the biggest help?
My dad always repeated the saying, "The man on top of the mountain didn't fall there." He would say things like this after a win, or a new personal record to remind me how I got there. He would stay at the track with me hours after practice was over. In my track and field career, my dad was as important as my own two feet in the success.

What are you doing in the present and hope to do in the future?
My husband, Todd and I live in Virginia Beach. He keeps me motivated to run on the beach. We have stand up paddle boards, and I've learned to surf. We ride bikes when the weather is good. I started selling houses and had a good year in 2012. I'd like to be in the Realtor Circle of Excellence by the time I'm 30. We want children. Life is good. I am blessed beyond words.

How was the adjustment from post-college?
Instead of jumping over a bar, you have to figure out how to pay for groceries, gas and rent. Once you make a little money and start to feel great, you realize you have to pay taxes. I wish I had taken a business class or two!

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