Salute to Seniors: Stuart Pollock of Westfield

Salute To Seniors is a medium for "senior farewells". We wanted to give everyone a chance to salute them one more time as well as invite those seniors to tell their stories from the past four years. We have a number of entries in queue to finish out July, thank you to everyone who submitted. 

What was your most memorable moment?

My most memorable race was definitely in cross country last year when we had a quad meet with Union Catholic, Scotch Plains-Fanwood, and Summit. It was really hyped up because it was the top 4 teams in our county go to head so it was kind of like a prep for counties. The official ended up starting the race before UC was on the starting line, so they had to chase after us during the race. It was like nothing I had ever seen before in a meet. Regardless of that, however, our team ended up running great considering it was a dual meet, and I dropped a big PR from my junior year, making the whole race memorable.

Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?

It's hard for me to choose just one person over the last 4 years. But if I had to choose I would say the top couple guys at Union Catholic. We race against them a good amount throughout the course of the year and they always put up good competition. From cross country to track, the distance squads are always a fun matchup between Westfield and UC.

What was your greatest accomplishment? 

My greatest accomplishment was definitely at counties during my senior year. We were missing one of our top guys that race but our varsity team still averaged #3 in school history and we had a 15 second 1-5 compression. I also dropped a big PR that day when I ran 16:38.

If you could do it all over again, what would you change about your high school career? 

If I could do it all over again, I would tell my younger self to start taking the sport more seriously. You experience so much growth as an underclassman runner, so you better take advantage of it to improve as much as you can. Definitely during winter of my sophomore year I started to slack off, much of which was to my ignorance of how little time I had left in my high school running career.

What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?

My most difficult obstacle I have had to overcome was when I tore my calf in the beginning of winter during my senior year. I was coming off an amazing cross country season and I wanted to build that momentum to even more success in track, but it just did not follow through. I was unable to run for 2 months and it was a difficult process rebuilding my fitness, so my spring season was not all that I wish it could have been. However, I am not going to let it interfere with the future of my running career.

What will you miss the most?

I can't even get started with what I will miss. There are so many unforgettable relationships I have built on this team and I am going to miss them all dearly. Not to mention I am going to miss my daily routine of going to Kehler Stadium everyday or doing runs at Tamaques Park, it is just very surreal with that part of my life being over.

What advice would you give to younger athletes?

Younger athletes need to cherish their time on their team as much as possible. They may think graduation is light years away but in reality it goes by in the blink of an eye. Younger athletes need to train as effective as possible and not wait for luck while they still have time.

What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?

Coach Chris Tafelski has always let me know to never let good enough be good enough. Thanks to him I do not put a limit on anything and that you can only expect results if you put in the work, which is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

What are your post-high school or college plans?

I plan to run cross country and track collegiately for Connecticut College at the Division 3 level. Roll camels!

Who would you like to say 'thank you' to?

I would like to give a thank you to all my teammates and coaches who have helped trust the process and have kept me committed to running. There are way to many people for me to name individually, but you know who you are.