5k XC: 15:44.50
(photo by Dan McCauley)
What were some of the highlights of your high school cross country and track careers?
Over the course of my four years at Union Grove High School, I was honored to receive several distinctions based on my athletic performance. As a freshman, I helped my team to clinch 1st place in both the county and region cross country championships and finished 17th overall on the 3rd place team at state championship. As a sophomore, I was the county and region champion and finished 4th in the State Championship. During track season, I was County and Region Champ while finishing at State by placing 4th overall in both the 800m and 1600m races. As a junior in high school, I became the first student-athlete in Union Grove and Henry County history to hold the title of State Cross Country Champion. Then continuing into track season by finishing again as County and Region Champ in the 1600m and 800m along with breaking the UG record. As a senior, I returned to finish as the Cross Country State Runner-up by .38 which may of been one of my best races. With plans to cement County and Region Champion once again and poised to compete at a state champion level before my track season was unfortunately cut short.
During my high school career, I was a Freshman Flash Award winner, a three-time Golden Spike Award winner, and a three-time Henry County Cross Country Athlete of the Year. I was named to the All-State Cross Country team three times and the Atlanta Track Club All-Metro Cross Country team three times along with being named All-Region Athlete of the Year while making the All-Region Team. Although most memorable highlight was being recognized at the State Capital on February 28th, as the first ever Union Grove High School/Henry County State Champion.
My finishing PR's were as follows: 5k (15:44), 1600m (4:21) and 800m (1:53). Along with holding the school record in the 800m and the 2-2-4-8 relay. I look forward to continuing to work hard into this new season of life, and build upon the foundation I have developed up to this point.
Did you encounter any struggles or adversity along the way that you had to overcome?
Yes, my freshman year I encountered a tweak in my knee which ended my season before state. I mentally struggled my junior year of track and senior year of cross country. This made me think that I wasn't improving, which set back my training and caused me to doubt myself and my ability to compete to the level I felt I should be performing.
Aside from the competition, what was the best thing about being a part of your high school's program?
How everyone is supportive towards all of our events not just sprints, jumps, throws, or distance; everyone respects everyone's talent and praises them for great achievements. We are a complete team.
Are there any coaches or teammates that you've worked with over the past four years that you'd like to thank?
Yes, I would like to thank Coach Daugherty for everything he has coached me to become. I probably wouldn't be the runner that people know today without him coaching me and pushing me to what I have accomplished today in the sport. All my teammates throughout the years have encouraged me. However, the cross country team my freshman year really set the base for the who I have been able to become as a runner. Zack Burnett, Bailey Gay, and Walker Inman to name a few have been there since the beginning to help encourage me to push past what I thought was impossible for my running career to become.
How are you coping with COVID-19 now that your HS track career is over?
It's over. I had great plans for my senior track season, but you are never promised tomorrow. All that matters is that I had a plan. Coach D' and I had a great plan and were on track to make that plan my reality. You should always give it your all each time you race, leave it all on the track.
What are your plans and goals for the future? Do you intend on continuing with the sport in college or in another capacity?
I plan to carry on my running career at American University in Washington D.C. While competing there, I hope to better my running and try to pursue wherever that will take me in the future. I have always had dreams when it comes to my running. Through attending American, I am optimistic that my future in running is going in the right direction. The coaching styles and team aspect it whats excites me the most.
I am excited to be able to attend a phenomenal academic school to work towards a major in Biology/Zoology and a minor in business.
What advice would you give to a younger athlete who's hoping to have a successful and enjoyable high school career?
Treat every race like its your last, because it very well could be. Also, if you want to be the best in your sport, you have to tell yourself you are because you are the only one who is going to be in your mind when things get tough.