Salute To Seniors is a medium for "senior farewells". We invited the 2020 seniors to tell their stories from the past four years. With the loss of the spring season we hope we can offer a chance to reflect on all the great moments this class did get to experience. Thank you to everyone who submitted, we are closing up the series and still have a few in queue to be posted.
What was your most memorable race?
My most memorable race was definitely the Holmdel Twilight Series - Penn Qualifier. My team and I were entered in the 4x800 relay, hoping we would run fast enough to qualify for the Penn Relays for the first time in our school's history. It was our first race of the outdoor season so the nerves were at an all time high, but we knew we were capable of running the qualifying time or even faster. I was the anchor leg of the relay and when I got the baton my team was in fourth place. I slowly kept closing the gap and was confident in myself to catch up to the other teams. In the last few meters of the race, I was able to bring my team back from fourth and take over the lead. I split a 2:17, and was featured as US MileSplit Kick of the Week. With this race, we made school history as the FIRST ever distance relay to run at the Penn Relays!
Who would you consider your biggest competition over the past four years?
My biggest competition throughout my four years would have to be Eliana Swell from RFH. I knew whenever we ran a race together, it would be a competitive race and would go down to the final stretch. Our races junior and senior year at sectionals were nail-biter races because both the 800 and 1600 each year came down right to the finish. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to race against Eliana because we both pushed each other outside of our comfort zones to race to the best of our abilities.
My other biggest competition would have to be my former teammates Sammi Ragenklint and Amanda Stone. I was so lucky to have them as my teammates and training partners for three years. We were all there to push each other in every workout and run we did together. We all made each other better day in and day out, and I'm so grateful to have had them as my teammates and best friends.
What was your personal greatest accomplishment?
My personal greatest accomplishment would have to be winning the 800 and 1600 indoor sectional title back to back my junior and senior year. I was very excited to have won my junior year, but to come back my senior year and do it all again was extremely special to me considering it would be my last season. This showed me that if you continue to work hard and believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything.
Another great accomplishment I am proud of is running the mile in 5:04. If you were to ask me freshman year where I would see myself in four years, running a 5:04 mile would not have even been a thought. I truthfully thought I would be playing softball and soccer throughout high school, but I am so thankful I decided to give running a try. My goal for my last outdoor track season was to break 5 in the mile, but unfortunately due to the coronavirus I did not get the chance to do so. As I will be attending Monmouth University this fall, I still have this same goal in mind, and am excited for the future.
If you are writing a letter to your freshmen self, what are some items that would include?
I would've told myself to run cross country freshman year and not to play soccer. I think by running cross it definitely helped me get stronger, and benefited me in the long run. Although I wasn't too fond of it to begin with, cross country definitely grew on me. All the hills, Holmdel runs, and cold late November races were most definitely worth it.
What will you miss the most?
I will miss spending time with my teammates and coaches the most. Whenever we were all together, it was the best of times. The pre practice locker room chats with my teammates were always the best, and filled with many laughs. I'll miss going on runs with everyone, especially the days we would go "exploring" in the woods and to the rope swing. I'll miss annoying Coach Rap, and all my other teammates everyday at practice. Although no one liked waking up for Saturday morning practice, I'll miss going out to breakfast or getting coffee after. I'll miss the bus rides to and from the meets where we blasted music the whole entire ride. Last but not least, I'll miss racing for Coach Rap. I'm so thankful I was able to have a coach like him. Our pre race talks, and post race selfies are just a few of the many memories I'll always remember.
What advice would you give to younger upcoming athletes?
My advice is to really enjoy every moment, every race, every run, every workout, every pasta party, and all the ups & downs you experience. You honestly never know when your last race or season will be (as we saw happen this year). Over the last four years, I have had some of the best times of my life that I will cherish forever.
What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?
Coach Rap has honestly been the best coach I have ever had. Not only did he care about me on the track, but off the track as well. He has helped me tremendously, and none of my success would have been accomplished without him. He was always so encouraging and supportive, and helped better myself each year. When I started high school, I originally played soccer and once the soccer season ended he approached me and suggested that I actually considered giving running a go because this sport had the ability to change my life for the better. He saw the talent, endurance, speed, power, and heart I had on the field, and knew I would be able to bring those same assets onto the track.
Without Coach Rap's influence to give running a try, I would not be the successful young woman I am today. He always insisted that I strive for success because I have the potential and heart to be successful in anything I put my mind to. He believed in me from the start and always pushed me to be a better individual. I wouldn't be the runner or person I am today without his constant support and guidance to set my goals high and never back down from a challenge. I owe it all to him for getting me to where I am today, and having the opportunity to compete at the collegiate level.
What are your post-high school or college plans?
I will be running for Monmouth University. I'm extremely excited for the next four years at Monmouth, and to get the chance to run at the Division 1 level. Fly Hawks!
Who would you like to say 'thank you' to?
I would like to say thank you to my coaches, Coach Rap and Coach Em for all the guidance and support over the last four years. For motivating me day in and day out, in all my runs, workouts, and races.
Thank you to all my teammates (past and present) for all the laughs, memories, and friendships that I have created through this sport. These last four years have been so memorable and I will cherish them forever!
Thank you to my family for the never ending support and motivation on and off the track. You have helped me get to where I am today, and I am forever grateful.
And last but not least, a big thank you to my sister Mackenzie for getting me into running. If it weren't for her advice, I would have never gotten to experience the wonderful opportunities this sport has given me. All of the amazing accomplishments I have achieved so far wouldn't have been possible without her by my side, constantly pushing me to strive for success.