Salute to Seniors: Northwestern's Addison Meeker

Name: Addison Meeker
High school: Northwestern High School in Rock Hill, SC
Event PRs: 5K ~ 20:07 / 800 ~ 2:30 (unofficial) / 1600 ~ 5:32 / 3200 ~ 12:17
Hobbies: Spending time with friends and family, reading, journaling, listening to music, and, most importantly, running and staying active.

What was your most memorable race/competition?
My most memorable race would have to be Trojan Invitational this past year on my home course. Up until this race, I was insanely scared to attempt a time goal I had for myself because I was scared of failure. However, at this race, not only did I meet that time goal, I ran a 43 second PR at an early-season meet of 20:28. I literally crossed the finish line with a huge smile on my face, and it set the tone for an extremely successful season.

Out of all your high school accomplishments, which stands out the most?
The stand-out accomplishment from my high school career would have to be finishing 5th at the 5A state meet for the Girls 4x800m Relay alongside my amazing teammates. We were so proud of ourselves for this performance, and it's something I am so grateful to have been a part of.

If you could do it all over again, what would you change about your athletic career in high school?
I would have for sure started running sooner. I did not start running distance until freshman year track, and I regret not having the same amount of experience a lot of other talented high school runners have.

What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
The most difficult obstacle would easily have to be COVID-19. Training alone was and still is one of the hardest things mentally to push yourself through, and that on top of the stress of a global pandemic was a little overwhelming at times. I'm in a way grateful for it though because it toughened me up mentally, especially through the more strenuous runs.

What will you miss the most?
The thing I'll miss the most is the camaraderie on my team. This past year especially, my teammates created such a fun and supportive atmosphere around practices, meets, and even team hang-outs; this in itself made cross country and track so much sweeter. I've made lifelong friends through running and that will be missed dearly!

Do you have any advice for younger athletes?
It's cliche, but you're only as strong as you believe yourself to be. It's very easy to get sucked into a negative mindset about running, especially if you had a bad race or are in a "slump" where running feels like a chore. However, something as simple as a change in mindset for the better can change a bad race into a lesson and a "slump" into motivation to get better. Your physical condition is important to be successful, but so is your mentality.

How have your coaches influenced your performances and your life goals?
To say they've strongly influenced me is an understatement. My coaches have become such strong role models of mine who have gone the extra mile (running pun not intended) in developing meaningful relationships with me and my teammates, offering criticism when it's needed and encouragement when things don't go as planned. If it weren't for my incredibly supportive coaches, I would not have enjoyed running nearly as much as I did, and I thank them deeply for that.

What kind of impact did your family have on your time as a high school student-athlete?
Aside from my coaches and teammates, my family was my biggest support system throughout my high school career. They always took an interest in how practices or races went, never getting bored when they didn't understand runner lingo, and always encouraged me to do my best. They also played a role in shaping my faith, which is something very important to who I am.

What are your college or post-high school plans?
I signed to run women's cross country for Presbyterian College in the fall and I plan on majoring in Biochemistry.

What do you hope to achieve after high school?
One word: happiness.

Do you see yourself coaching in the future?
Please explain and if so, what level and why? On a volunteer level, yes. I don't plan to stop running any time soon, and I'd love to give back some of the support Northwestern gave me for my time there.

Shout-outs? I'd like to give a shoutout to one of my coaches, Coach Chris Ardis. I touched on this previously, but his evident love for the support and for his athletes is what shaped my love for running. I don't exactly know where I'd be without a mentor/role model like him, but I do know that I wouldn't have been nearly as successful.

If there is one thing in the world you could do, what would it be and why?
Aside from being able to run injury-free (one can dream), I'd want to help everyone on the planet find a passion or hobby that they care about as much as I care about running. Having something that I feel passionately about has greatly improved my quality of life and I want everyone to experience that.