5k XC- 16:45.85
What were some of the highlights of your high school cross country and track careers?
There are so many highlights to pick from in high school running. I would have to say that my number one memory was qualifying for the state cross country meet for the first time in 9 years. That was a great team memory that I will remember forever. Another great memory from this year is running 9:54 in the 3200m. This was an amazing race and I wish I could relive this race.
Did you encounter any struggles or adversity along the way that you had to overcome?
There were plenty of struggles throughout my high school career. During my sophomore year I had a stress fracture in my hip which ended my track season. This injury, although unfortunate, motivated me the rest of my career. Watching people race and knowing you should be there is the worst feeling ever. This motivated me to stay healthy and to work extra hard in the coming summer.
Aside from the competition, what was the best thing about being a part of your school's program?
Aside from racing, running with my teammates is easily the best part of North Gwinnett's program. Every person on our team cares about one another and hopes for everyone to PR. These people would be perfectly fine with being beaten by their own teammate if it means they PR. My teammates are people who have seen me at my highest peak and lowest valley. This is the reason why my teammates have a special place in my heart. Thank you to Makenna, Roman, Michael, Yianni, Cole, Will, Matthew, Evan, Aiden, Joey, and Harrison.
Are there any coaches or teammates that you've worked with over the past four years that you'd like to thank?
I would like to thank the best coach anyone could ask for, John Rowland. Coach Rowland is the most supportive person you will find. During races, he runs faster than you in order to yell. He makes you laugh everyday. He is just the best coach anyone could want. My best memory with Coach Rowland is during what now is my last high school race. With 400m to go he yelled "I need a 72 for the school record! I need it Patton!" After I finished all I could do was give him a hug. Thank you for making me the runner I am today.
How are you coping with COVID-19 and the looming possibility that your HS track career might very well be over?
My high school running career being over sucks. It really sucks. There's no other way to describe it. Every senior wants to finish their season at the state meet, and this year that will not happen. Although the season is over, there are positives. My last race was a PR, I gave this season my all, and I did everything I could this season. You could point out every negative, but there is nothing that can change the past now.
What are your plans and goals for the future? Do you intend on continuing with the sport in college or in another capacity?
My plans for the future are still undecided. I have the opportunity to run cross country and track at Charleston Southern University. I am still waiting to be able to visit due to the COVID-19 virus. I also have the opportunity to attend Georgia Southern. I have a tough decision to make in the future and I would love to keep running.
What advice would you give to a younger athlete who's hoping to have a successful and enjoyable high school career?
If I could give advice to a younger athlete it would be simple. My advice is to savor every race like it is your last. I know first hand what it is like to run your last race and it is heartbreaking. You never know when a race could be your last, so run every race like it is your last.