What was your most memorable race?
My most memorable cross country race team wise would have to be my Junior year District meet at Bishop Kenny. We had a 2 hour rain delay, the course was muddy, and the wind was nearly 20mph. It was our first District title since 1999 and the fact that we overcame powerhouse Bishop Kenny was what made it so trilling. I remember finishing (first win individually) and having Coach come over, almost in tears, and telling us that we had done it. That memory is one that I will never forget. Individually I would have to say my most memorable moment was The Bale-n-Trail meet my senior year and PR'ing by 23 seconds, and breaking our school record which had stood since 2002. Track wise the Bolles Classic meet this last track season was my most memorable race. Racing Gousse and Godwin in the last 100 meters and breaking our school record in the 1600 which stood since the late 90's is what made the race so memorable.
What was your biggest competition?
I would have to say my biggest competition throughout cross country and track was always different runners at every meet. The ones that stand out would have to be Del Monte, Godwin, O'Connor, and many others that were always right there down to the last laps.
Out of all of your high school accomplishments which stands out the most?
Salvaging 4th in the 1600 at State senior year and doubling to get a "colored medal" in the 3200. Other than that, running 15:22 would have to be my greatest accomplishment. Running with the greats of the state, battling it out with Del Monte to the finish, and coming up the green monster that last time seeing 14:XX on the clock with less than 200m to go for the first time makes that race stand out among others.
If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running career in high school?
I would of done more strength training considering how much strength plays into running and most of all preventing injuries. I look back at my multiple injuries that halted both senior year in XC and track and know that if I would of kept up with strength training none of that would of been an issue.
What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
The multiple hip, hip flexor, piriformis, and Sacroiliac joint injuries all accuring my senior year in cross and track were my biggest hurdles I had to overcome.
What will you miss the most?
I will miss everyone that I became friends with. I met some of my best friends through running. Along with the social part of it, the competition and my team is what I will miss the most. Nease has been like my 2nd home and all the guys and girls on the team are ones that I will remember forever, with all the laughs, road trips, and moments we had as a team. Also I will miss Coach Rivera, as he has been one of the most influential people in my life. I'm very thankful to have been coached under him for my 4 years of high school.
What advice have your coaches had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?
Coach Rivera has given a lot of life lessons throughout my career. The one that stands out the most has to be the message he sent me a couple of days before Track finals my senior year. "One of the greatest discoveries a man makes - one of his greatest surprises - is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't." was part of the message Even though it was meant for running, this is one of the life lessons I will always remember.
What are your college plans?
I will be going on a scholarship to the University of Florida to run Cross Country and Track. Right now I am leaning towards studying Biological Sciences or something in that area.
Who would you like to say thank you to?
There are so many people I would love to say thank you too. To start off I've got to give it to all my friends, former teammates, and Coach Rivera for pushing my along every single day and being there in support every single race. Also I would love to thank my parents for the loving support in the sport I love and giving me the opportunity to go out and chase my dreams.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
For all you upcoming seniors and everyone coming up through the ranks, I would have to say never give up, take care of your body, and listen to what people are saying(your Coach). My biggest advice though would have to be something I went by every single race during track. That last 200 meters was to kick. I would always tell myself I could do it, I knew there was always that little something left in the tank, and knew that every single day of practice and all the workouts that I have done will hurt more than this right here. Everyone can be in the mix the whole race but without that last lap and for me that last 200 meter kick, you will get left behind. Just remember there is a certain percentage of the sport that is mental. Make that your edge over everyone. Lastly good luck to everyone out there, reach for your goals, and never give up! GO GATORS!!
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