Salute to Seniors: Jake Kolodziej of Washington Township

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?

Woodbury relays this past spring in the SMR, I was the 800m leg and got the baton in 3rd place, passed two guys for the win, and our relay team got gold watches. We qualified for nationals this day. This was also my first time ever running sub-2:00.

What was your greatest accomplishment? 

Running my PR in the 800 at the Henderson invite in West Chester. We got to the meet really early that day and I sat around all day under our tent trying to avoid the heat just thinking about the race. When I got on the line I knew I didn't come all the way here to throw up a bad race, I ran from the back and booked down the back stretch with 300 meters left and won my heat with a new PR of 1:57.10, my first time running a F.A.T. sub-2:00.

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

I wish I would've learned the importance of recovery earlier on. Freshmen year in cross country I only ran 19:44 in the 5k, then sophomore year cross country I came out and ended up running 17:37, after running that I would have hoped to have had a good two track seasons, however I didn't take off between either of the seasons and didn't really stretch or take my easy runs at a comfortable pace. After that I went back to running how I had ran my freshmen year and couldn't figure out why. Sophomore year for many is a breakout season, including my teammates, and it was hard to watch them get much better than me while I wasn't improving at all.

What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?

Running with confidence. I didn't start really running with full confidence until this past indoor season. I started to tell myself that I could win races and I would run for the win instead of for time. Although I did not end up always winning, I would still finish being satisfied knowing I truly gave my best effort, and this would give me a much better finish than how I would have running scared.

What will you miss the most?

The bubble. As much as I would say I hated it during season, I am truly going miss running there. I feel like it really represents NJ Track.

What advice would you give to younger athletes?

To run confidently and to not give up because your hard work will pay off and there is always time to get better. Freshmen year I ran 2:53 for my first indoor 800 at the armory, and 63 in the 400. then 3 years later I ended up taking almost a whole minute off of my 800 time (1:57.1) and 13 seconds off of my 400, (50.7) in fact I ended up running 7 seconds faster than my freshmen year open 400m in the 400m hurdles this year (56.44).

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

My brother who was a freshmen on the team for always packing up my chair and stuff while I was running the 4x4 at every meet and then bringing it to the bus for me after the race. And also for doing just about everything I made him do for me at meets and practice. Also my coaches and teammates for everything I accomplished, and lastly the NJ MileSplit twitter for answering all my tweets instantly every time I had a question.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Follow me on Instagram jake_kolodziej5