Salute to Seniors: Devon Hoernlein of Allentown HS

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 Meet of Champions for winter track in the 3200m in my junior year. Before my race, my coach asked if I had a certain time I wanted to hit and I told him 10:58 because I dreamed about it the night before. My strategy during this race was to go with the front pack, get a good position and to stay with them until the end. Going into the last few laps I was in the top eight and I remember hearing my family and coaches screaming to go with the rest of the pack. Even though I was seeded 14 and was entered as a wildcard, I finished 6th and ran an overall personal best of 10:58. That night my family and friends played 1058 in the lottery and won over a thousand dollars. My coach was shocked that I ran the same time from my dream and now before every race he asks if I had any times in my dreams.

What was your greatest accomplishment? 

My greatest individual accomplishment was breaking 5 minutes in the 1600m and 11 minutes in the 3200m. My greatest team accomplishment was winning the Central Jersey Group 3 team title for Cross Country, Indoor Track and Spring Track my junior year. This was the first time in Allentown High School history we won a team title.

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

I don't think I would change anything. I am very happy with my performances and training. I focus on how I can improve my race strategy and training to help benefit me in the future.

What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?

The most difficult obstacles I had to overcome was having three different coaches in the span of my four years in high school. I was very upset when my first coach left me, Coach Harshman. He helped me begin my athletic career and started me off on the right path after my injury freshman year but I am happy with how it ended with Coach Smith. I wouldn't be the athlete and person I am today without his help, guidance and dedication.

What will you miss the most?

The biggest thing I will miss is my coaches and teammates. I wouldn't be where I am today without their encouragement and motivation. I will also miss all my distance competitors. It has been an honor to run with them and grow close with them over the last four years. I wish all the seniors who graduated good luck next year in college and good luck to the remaining high school runners.

What advice would you give to younger athletes?

As a senior, I always told the freshman to never let their age bring down their expectations. I taught them they can do anything they set their minds to. I also taught them to give it their all and to push each other.

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

Coach Smith has had a major influence on my junior and senior year accomplishments. He has been so dedicated to my training and always wanting me to be the best athlete I can be. I will truly miss him trying to bring out my beast mode by punching me in the shoulder on the starting line to the "mad look" he gives me when I am a second off the time he wanted me to hit in a workout. He is the coach every athlete dreams of having.

What are your post-high school or college plans?

This fall I will be attending University of Pittsburgh to continue my academic and athletic career.

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

I would like to thank my Dad for always cheering me on during my races and always pushing me to reach my goals. Thank you for always waking up early and making my meet day breakfasts. I would also like to thank my mom for being my biggest cheerleader and always picking me up when I am down. I would also like to thank my brother, Dylan, for being my personal photographer and running throughout all my races to get the best action shots. Lastly, I would like to thank my coaches for all their many hours of dedication and hard work into helping me become a better runner.