What are your goals in 2024?
In 2024, I aspire to become a better person and a more accomplished runner. My current personal record (PR) stands at around 17 minutes flat, but my goal is to finish closer to 16 flat by the end of the year. To achieve this, I plan to become a faster and stronger runner by diversifying my workouts and improving my versatility. Additionally, I aim to take on the role of a team captain and become a better teammate as I move into 2024.
My outdoor season will begin in February of 2024.
What do you remember from last cross country season?
During the last cross country season, I recall the dedication and admiration of two friends I have been running with for many years. Together, we endured grueling runs under the scorching summer heat, huddled up in freezing temperatures, chanted passionately as a team to reduce our anxiety, and heard the reassuring words, 'you got this,' and 'one bad race doesn't mean you're not good at running.' This last cross country season marked the end of an era, with many of my role models who shaped me into the runner I am today.
Of course, every race is a testament to the strength of your mind and the durability of your dedication. However, one race my team looks forward to is the All-American. At All-American, we aim to set new records in races that are outside the scope of a typical track season, specifically the 4x1600. My cross country coach, John King, has always said that every race is important, but as we approach the end of the season, every race becomes more important than the last, to which I agree.
I have experimented with many different racing strategies, ranging from coming out ahead and attempting to use the runners at my back to propel me forward to starting in the back and carefully passing individuals a couple at a time. I have seen more success in the latter approach. By starting slightly behind, I'm able to gauge the speed of those in front of me and make calculated maneuvers the moment others face resistance. Ultimately, cross country and track are mental sports, and strategy is the crux at which victory is determined. With sound strategy, placing and succeeding become much more realistic.
"During the last cross country season, I recall the dedication and admiration of two friends I have been running with for many years. Together, we endured grueling runs under the scorching summer heat, huddled up in freezing temperatures, chanted passionately as a team to reduce our anxiety, and heard the reassuring words, 'you got this,' and 'one bad race doesn't mean you're not good at running.' This last cross country season marked the end of an era, with many of my role models who shaped me into the runner I am today." - Peyton White
I live in Greenville, South Carolina, which is relatively close to the Furman facilities. This proximity gives me access to their outdoor track and even their campus. I enjoy gathering a couple of buddies to go running in the evening or early in the morning around the beautiful lake, on the green, and Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail.
How and when did you get involved in the sport?
I became involved in cross country during the transition from middle school to high school. I thought joining the team would help ease the tension of trying to find new friends and figure out where I fit in. However, it turned out to be much more than that. I fell in love with the competition and the sense of community, so I decided to also give track a try. Now, cross country and track are a consistent and integral part of my life.
What changes have you experienced in the sport?
A consistent theme in my life has been dedication and discipline. Cross country instills in every runner a deep discipline that transcends mere motivation. While motivation can be fleeting, discipline remains constant. At the beginning of my season, my actions were fueled by motivation. I was motivated to run three to five miles before school, complete that biology assignment, and do my homework. However, through experience, I came to understand the importance of discipline and consistency: focusing on the task at hand and accomplishing it without complaint or boast. This ultimately echoes the words of Abraham Lincoln, who once said, 'Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.' For me, what I want most has always been running.
Being selected for the United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) speaks volumes about my leadership and charisma. More importantly, this program provides me with the opportunity to leverage my voice and address issues that, in my opinion, are of the utmost importance. The selection and recognition this program offers reflect my dedication not only to my sport but also to my strong conviction in the beliefs and values instilled in me by my parents. In March, I will represent South Carolina alongside another delegate at the United States Capitol. During this time, I will have the privilege to meet top military generals, senators, members of the Supreme Court and even the President. I will find myself at the epicenter of the decisions that shape the direction our country takes. As I reflect on this journey, it all began with cross country: the discipline to wake up early and give my best effort in every endeavor.
What do you hope to achieve in the program?
I hope to leverage my voice and speak on the issues that matter most to me. What will it help you for with future goals? I hope to attend either Harvard University or West Point and major in Political Science and Linguistics, reflecting my passion for government and foreign languages. The United States Senate Youth Program provides me with a hands-on opportunity to engage with the political system and learn from individuals with diverse and complex backgrounds.
I have always had a passion for sports and the competition they bring. Over the course of my life, I have participated in nearly every sport, including basketball, football, soccer and baseball. However, I have discovered that cross country and track are my favorites, so I have dedicated my high school years to these two sports.
What other hobbies do you have?
I love to read, study foreign languages and explore politics. Combining all my interests is something I enjoy immensely. Often, I read journals or newspapers in French, covering topics from geopolitics to the most recent fashion trends. I also have a passion for cooking and working out in my free time.
How is college searching going for the future?
So far, the process of searching for colleges has been rewarding. It reflects my passions and interests over the last three years. Although I have my eyes on various universities, I have also been involved in many extracurricular activities, including Youth in Government, and I am currently in the process of founding my own non-profit organization.
In track and field, I would like to see my team place at state. Over the last couple of years, we have shown up to every practice and left our hearts on the track. We have worked tirelessly, and I believe that if we continue to persevere, we will leave a legacy that surpasses our time at Travelers Rest High School. Track and field will be one of the last times we are together as a team, so I hope we can finish even better than we could have imagined when I began nearly three years ago.