My most memorable meet was either the 2015 state cross country meet where I unexpectedly placed second and helped my team to our first state cross country title in 30 years. Another very memorable meet for me was the 2017 NXN meet in portland where I not only ran a decent race but also met some other athletes that I'm good friends with today and get to race against often.
My biggest competition, especially this year, has been Carter Cheeseman. We have raced against each other in all of our bigger races so far this year except for Chile Pepper, which he was supposed to come up for but couldn't. He has been my biggest competition because he is such a versatile athlete that he can do well at any distance on the cross course or the track. We find that we are able to push each other in those bigger races which helps both of us have big performances.
Of my high school accomplishments, the one that stands out the most to me is that I became the first Arkansan to ever make it to Foot Locker Nationals. It was exciting to think that my name would go down in record books that I was the first to accomplish this feat. Although I didn't run the race I wanted at nationals last year but I was still proud to be there.
If I could do things all over again, the only thing I would change would be my sophomore year. That year I wasn't as serious about running as I should've been which showed in my results during track season. Other than that I have been very pleased with my running career so far.
The biggest obstacle I have had to face in running was being able to overcome a bad race and be able to bounce back from it. As I mentioned earlier, I didn't perform well at the Foot Locker Nationals cross country race my junior year. In fact, I placed 40th in that race which was last place. Since that was my last race of the year for cross, I ended things on a very bad note. I had to be able to get over that mental barrier of such a bad performance in order to look ahead to my goals for track and be able to pursue them with confidence.
I will miss the camaraderie of my teammates and the fun times we have had during practice, traveling for meets, or just being around each other.
My advice to younger athletes is to understand the most important part about running, which is self belief. Although distance running is a very physically demanding sport, I believe that the mental aspect of running is even more demanding. It is extremely easy for runners to get caught up in the mental game that comes with a highly independent and competitive sport. So, it is very important for someone to be on top of their mental game because at the end of the day, it doesn't matter how much your parents or your coach believes in you. It doesn't matter because they aren't the person that is toeing the line about to run that race. Once an athlete is in control of their mental game, that's when they become dangerous.
After highschool I will be attending Princeton University to continue my athletic and academic career.
I would like to thank my parents the most for constantly supporting me throughout my exciting high school career and always working towards providing the best opportunities for me. I would also like to thank Coach Fyfe and Coach Thomas for helping to shape me into the athlete and young man that I am today and for including me in creating the culture of success for one of the most impressive distance programs in the state of Arkansas. There are many other people that have helped me along the way that I can't say thank you enough to either. It is easy for me to say that I have been very blessed to have so many people in my corner for this crazy journey of mine.