Senior Salute: Athanasius Tesfaye Of Loganville HS


5K XC:   15:28.85

3200m:  9:47.90

1600m:  4:19.37

800m:    2:01.49

What were some of the highlights of your high school cross country and track careers?

Winning the region title as a team was definitely one of my favorite all-time memories with Loganville. It meant a lot to the team and my teammates to claim the first-ever XC region title. For the next couple of days after the region title, we felt unstoppable. Winning XC state was also was one of my favorite memories and it meant a lot to me since that was the least I can do for my parents and my teammates after all that they went through for me.

Did you encounter any struggles or adversity along the way that you had to overcome?

Other than a minor injury that took place in the summer of my junior year, the biggest adversity I had to face was not taking pride in some of the races I ran my heart out for. But those adversities didn't go to waste. Rather, it taught me not to look at the time I ran but to rate my races on if I did my best or not. The first couple of days during my freshman year joining XC was also a struggle. I was this close to quitting running altogether. I couldn't comprehend how fast some of these guys and girls could run. I had trouble keeping up with the slowest group. But If I hadn't had fought those couple of days, Loganville wouldn't have had its first state champion.

Aside from the competition, what was the best thing about being a part of your school's program?

The camaraderie. Cross Country somehow attracts some of the most amazing people you'll ever meet. Not because of anything they've achieved, but who they choose to be. It attracts people who value hard work and with that comes with pain and shared pain brings people together.

Are there any coaches or teammates that you've worked with over the past four years that you'd like to thank?

I'd like to thank The Great Coach Houghton for sharing some of his seemingly endless wisdom. A quote I'm sure my teammates and I will never forget goes as followed, "There are a lot of good teams here today, but we're one of them." He reminded us that we worked just as hard if not even harder than some of the teams regularly lined up with us toeing the line, meaning we had an equal or better opportunity to strip the win from anyone racing against us. I'd also like to thank coach Bryant, Monell, Barry, and Tompkins. I could go on and on for every little thing they did for me like waiting an extra thirty minutes for my brother and I to be picked up after practice, even driving me back home, and little things like encouraging me and praying with me to calm my nerves before a race. For all those little things I am very thankful.

How are you coping with the COVID-19 pandemic which ended your high school track career?

Coming into the track season with much confidence and high hopes of claiming two more state titles, it was very sad to hear the news. But over the years, I have learned not to waste time feeling sorry for things I can't control. As long as I am focused and doing my best on things I can control, I'll stay happy.

What are your plans and goals for the future? Do you intend on continuing with the sport in college or in another capacity?

I am very thankful to be joining the University of Georgia distance team. My goal at UGA will be the same goal as always. To do my best and inspire others along the way.

What advice would you give to a younger athlete who's hoping to have a successful and enjoyable high school career?

As long as you have time, and a desire that matches up with your dedication, anything is possible. Focus only on doing your best with the circumstances you are given. Once you have done so, there will be nothing to look back and regret. I promise you that.