Salute To Seniors: John Decker - Pine Crest

What was your most memorable race/moment?

My most memorable race would probably be winning the 2A 800m state title this year. As a second year runner, states last year was a huge deal. Even to attend and a state championship was never something that really crossed my mind until well into this season. After my Pine Crest teammates and I won the 4x800m state title earlier that day, I wasn’t sure just how much push I had left in me. So to come from behind by 20 meters or so and still come out on top was a moment that I will never forget and something that will give me confidence in my future races.

Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?
Over the last couple years of running I would say that my main competitors have been people like Joel Lacy, Calvary Christian-Ft. Lauderdale, in the 1600 who have really pushed my to the bitter edge.  It has made me a much better runner/tactical racer. Even though Joel wasn’t one of my competitors in the 800m, he was still someone that I expected to compete with at every race. I knew that I would have to give nothing less than my very best if I wanted to beat him. Even on meets where I was feeling sluggish and wasn’t as motivated to run, he would snap me back into it and make me realize that I was going to go out and give it everything I had with the knowledge that he would be right there doing the same thing.
If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running career in high school?
To be completely honest, I’ve enjoyed my entire high school athletic career. I rowed my freshmen and sophomore yeah and although I wasn’t as good as many of my teammates, I can say that they were two very enjoyable years. Then once I started running, I had a blast throughout the entire two years. Never once did I regret the decision to run and I always looked forward to future meets. In addition to getting better and better, the team aspect of running was the best part. I had an amazingly supportive team that made me faster by pushing me every day. They also immediately made me feel at home and made me look forward to every day on the track.
What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
My first year running was a shock to my system and I often had to take days off of track to let my shins heal and to make sure that I didn’t get sick. I had been accustomed to low impact crew training and I believe that the intensity of running was a bit more of a shock to my system than I was expecting. Either way, I pushed through the season and have done my best to prevent injury. So far it has worked and I’ve avoided any stress fractures or major injuries.
What will you miss the most?
By far the thing I’ll miss the most is my team. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a more supportive group of people to be with both before, during, and after practice. I can’t imagine track or cross country without them and I will truly miss seeing and training with them every day in the future.
What advice you would give to younger athletes?
With training anything is possible. It sounds cliché, but it’s the truth. If you want something, if you really really want something, it has to become part of you and dominate you until you fulfill that goal. Nothing worth having comes easy. While track and cross country are amazing and a ton of fun, it’s also serious and time after time you can see the athletes who really put the work in, succeed and improve more than athletes who don’t treat running as a priority.
What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?
My coaches along with my teammates deserve more credit than I do. Without them, I’d honestly be nowhere. Each and every day my coaches are out there and are just as dedicated as I am. In addition to support and advice, their workouts, although killer, have really allowed me to progress into the runner I am today and I couldn’t be more grateful to have them by my side over the past two years.
What are your college plans?
I am committed to Babson College and I will be running cross country this fall and track there next spring.
Who would you like to say thank you to?
Out of all the people who have supported me, my teammates, coaches, and parents deserve the most credit. Although it seems like track is an individual sport when you’re watching races, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Without the support I receive on a daily basis from everyone in my life, I would not be the person or athlete I am today and for that, I can never thank them enough.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Although I’ve told them in person, I’d like to wish my Pine Crest teammates along with all the people I have run with over the past two years the best of luck in all their future endeavors on and off the track. The group of people I’ve been with have been nothing but incredible and I will miss them when I leave.

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