Shrine Bowl Run interview: Keahi Mendoza of Socastee

Name: Keahi Mendoza
Hobbies: Basketball, tennis, DECA, school involvement, attending football games and of course, running. 
Academic interest: Pre-engineering or accounting, along with economics.
Personal bests: 16:41 (5K)

What does it mean to be named to the Shrine Bowl Run team and helping the hospital? 
It means more to me than one would think. It's been a goal of mine since 10th grade and being on the team now basically reminds me that everything and anything is possible when you put your mind to it.

What did you hear about the Shrine Bowl Run before this year? 
My 10th grade year, I believe. It may have been ninth.

What do you hope to experience during the event?
I'm coming in with a open-mind so whatever I do experience will end up being better than expected! 

How are you preparing to run with a football?
I haven't thought about that at all, actually. I suppose I could just kick off one of my shoes and throw in a few practice laps or miles at the end of a workout! I laughed coming across this question.

How would you rate your senior season? 
I've been asked this a few times and I changed my answer every time. After experiencing signing day and recalling all my meets compared to those of the pass, I would say my senior year would be as good as it could get. I made good memories everywhere I went, surely left every meet with a smile and made sure to pull something that went wrong to fix in the future from every meet. My team made the final season better than expected, for sure!

What future goals do you have?
Knowing what I am capable of, I've certainly made some high goals for college including those for my final years, including an All-Conference and All-Region finish. I want to leave a legacy, whether it be in the form of a record or personality. Academically, I want to try and hit a 3.7-3.8 GPA and graduate with a degree for electrical engineering or accounting. 

Have you made the decision to compete at the next level? Please explain. 
Fortunately I was given the opportunity by Kevin Licht at Anderson University to extend my running and academic career! I signed Nov. 16 and look forward to running under the Trojan cross country program!

How did you get involved with the sport and when? 
Long story short, I needed to find something to do to get out of the house in sixth /seventh grade and I heard somebody mention a sport with the name of cross country over the announcements. I was interested so I attended the practice, which happened to be a scrimmage meet. I fell in love with the team, environment, coach and overall aspect of running. 

Do you have any relation or know someone that has attended the Shriners Hospital?
A friend of mine, Micah Williams, was on the Shrine Bowl team in the past. 

How have you seen the sport change in the state? Please explain.
I most certainly see more pride, joy and love for the sport rising. Both at Coaches Classic earlier in the season and the state meet to conclude the season, you see more people painting their faces, buying or making fat heads of their athletes and running flags up and down the sidelines compared to the previous years. It certainly makes the sport and its events fun and more enjoyable.

What was your motivation for your final XC season? 
I wanted to leave a legacy at our school. Like I wish to do in college, I wanted to be a guy the teams following mine can look at to see the standards that need to be met to be successful, both as a runner and a person. 

If there is one thing in the world you could do, what would it be and why? 
There's an awful lot to do in this world, jeez. I would say visit the Nike Headquarters and run with Galen Rupp on the Nike Headquarters track. I've always wanted to meet and run with the guy, he's such an inspiration. If it had to deal with something world wide to fix before I died, I would put all the modern race issues, such as those that were shown in Milwaukee, down. Those were our problems in the past, so I say leave them in the past. But personally, I would definitely want to run with Galen and brag about that to my friends.