Salute to Seniors: Whale Branch's Talaijah Bartley

Whale Branch's Talaijah Bartley talks with MileSplit SC about her high school track and field career and the future for this week's salute to seniors.

Name / school and event personal bests
Talaijah Bartley - Whale Branch Early College High School, 100H - 14.56, 400 - 58.37

What was your most memorable race/competition? 
Getting the chance to race at the All-American Track Classic. Just so many different teams, athletes, the environment, the prelims, the finals. It was a unique experience and extremely memorable.

Out of all your high school accomplishments, which stands out the most? 
Freshman year and winning the state championship in the 100 meter hurdles. I hadn't been a true hurdler for very long. To go out and win the title as a freshman is something that will always stand out. For that win brought forth not just a tremendous amount of joy and happiness. But it also helped to fuel my dedication to the sport and pushed me to want to keep winning.

If you could do it all over again, what would you change about your athletic career in high school? 
I would change my dedication to the sport and fully commit to my events at a much earlier stage in my athletic career.

What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome? 
The mental obstacles were the biggest challenges. Started with having to become comfortable coming out of blocks to the first hurdle and having faith in myself. But there was also just the fear of falling and failure. So working my way through those mental traps was the most challenging obstacles I had to face.

What advice do you have for younger athletes? 
Best advice I can give is to be patient and keep pushing because their days of success will come.

How have your coaches influenced your performances and your life goals? 
My coaches helped influence my performances athletically and mentally because I was always guided in the right direction. Whether that was coming up with a plan for the meet/season to get me peaking at the right times or through mental motivated to keep me uplifted and in the right frame of mind.

What kind of impact did your family have on your time as a high school student-athlete?
They impacted me significantly by providing unwavering encouragement while also giving me life advice.

What are your college or post-high school plans? 
I will be continuing my track career in the fall by attending Converse University while studying criminal justice and psychology.

What do you hope to achieve after high school?
I hope to see the same sort of success I had in high school as I transition into college. I'd also like to attend law school.

Do you see yourself coaching in the future? Please explain and if so, what level and why? 
No! I don't quite have the patience level for coaching. Plus, with my career goals I wouldn't necessarily have the time to be coaching.

I'd like to thank my family, coaches, friends, teammates and most of all my competitors for constantly giving me support and the drive to succeed.

If there is one thing in the world you could do, what would it be and why? 
Being able to travel the world while exploring new places, cultures and traditions is at the top of my list. (Getting to Paris towards the end of July would be a start!) I would also love to see how other people live across the globe. What they experience and how they go through life on a daily basis. I think this would help in building my own life experiences and in enhancing my personal growth.