Salute to Seniors: Kaelyn Slaughter of T.L. Hanna

Name: Kaelyn Slaughter
High school:
T.L. Hanna
Event PRs:
5K: 20:20 -
3200m: 12:04 - rankings
1600m: 5:30 - rankings
800m: 2:33 - rankings
Hobbies: Baking

What was your most memorable race/competition?
My most memorable race was probably the state xc meet my freshman year. Being only a freshman and getting run with girls much older than me was amazing! I also got to race with my sister who was a senior at the time.

How have you handled the suspension of the 2020 outdoor season?
I have continued to train and get better physically and mentally for running by challenging myself and setting new goals like doing new circuits to strengthen different muscles.

Out of all your high school accomplishments, which stands out the most?
I think breaking the school record in the 4x800 my sophomore year with my team is the most memorable accomplishment. We worked hard to break it all season and did it in the end. We were so happy just to do it for each other because two of the girls on the team were seniors, and it was there last shot.

If you could do it all over again, what would you change about your athletic career in high school?
I think that I would've tried harder in middle school. In middle school I didn't take running as seriously and did it more for fun. I think it would have helped if I pushed myself more when I was younger.

What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
One main obstacle I had to overcome was an avulsion hip fracture between junior and senior year. After junior track season, I went to the doctor about a hip injury and found out I fractured my hip. This meant I couldn't train all summer and would probably have to miss a couple of xc meets. This was hard for me because I wanted my senior year to be perfect and have no flaws but that was not the case. I ended up coming back harder and stronger than anyone thought and got all-region in xc by the end of the season.

What will you miss the most?
I will miss the girls and coaches the most. The coaches always strived to help me not only become a better runner but a better leader and person too. They would challenge me and push me more than I thought I could. I will also really miss my teammates. Though we have had some ups and downs we always come back together in the end and are there for each other when it counts, and I will truly miss our family outlook on the team.

Do you have any advice for younger athletes?
My advice would be to do the little things that you may not want to. Doing little circuits and strength stuff outside of practice can really help you grow to the best runner you can be.

How have your coaches influenced your performances and your life goals?
My coaches have influenced me a lot in my life. They always encouraged me in the hard times when I thought I wouldn't reach my goals. They pushed me each and every day not only as a runner but a person. They showed me what it meant to be a great leader and team player.

What kind of impact did your family have on your time as a high school student-athlete?
My family has had a huge impact. They have always supported me by coming to almost all of my meets and cheering for me constantly. They drove me to so many practices and held me accountable for how I was doing at practice by asking me how it went. This helped me to strive to be the best I could be.

What are your college or post-high school plans?
I will be attending Milligan College in Johnson City, Tennessee. I will be studying mechanical engineering and running cross country and indoor and outdoor track for them.

What do you hope to achieve after high school?
I hope to prosper in college and achieve new goals in running but also academically. I want to continue to become a better runner and use that passion to help encourage others.

Do you see yourself coaching in the future? Please explain and if so, what level and why?
I could see myself coaching at the high school level because it's a fun atmosphere and not quite as much pressure as college coaching can be.

Coach Jackson, coach King, and coach Heather for always being there for me. They have shaped me into the runner I am today and I am so grateful. Dr. Charles Edsall for helping me get back to running after my hip injury in a fast and safe way. Coach Cann for providing funding and support for the xc and track teams from the athletic department at TLH.

If there is one thing in the world you could do, what would it be and why?
I would train to do ultra running and run a 100-mile race. I absolutely love long endurance running and want to accomplish something that seems crazy.