Salute to Seniors: Alisha Crites - East River High School

What was your most memorable race/moment?

My most memorable moment was cross country districts during my senior year. Our girl’s team went in with high hopes of bringing home the first cross-country trophy, but at the end of the race our girls placing was to close to call, and we all thought we hadn’t done it. When they finally announced team scores, they told us that second and third place were separated by one point with East River barely getting second place. It was the most emotional but one of best moments in my life, especially because I got to share it with the best team and coach. Helping bring home East River’s first cross country trophy will always be one of my most memorable running moments.
Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?
My biggest competition was definitely myself  and the Lake Nona Lions. My head has always been the one thing that gets in the way of my racing, making that my biggest competition. The Lake Nona girls have always been big competition for me, whether it was running against Angela Hickman during the cross-country season, or striving to keep up with Adair Lyden during my track season. Having these amazing runners as competition helped me challenge myself throughout the season. 
What was your greatest accomplishment?
I would have to say my greatest accomplishment was becoming 3A District 6 800m Champion. I would have never considered myself an 800m runner, considering I didn’t start running the event until this year. It was definitely one of the most exciting nights in my high school career and something I will always treasure.
If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running career in high school?
I would have started my freshman year instead of my sophomore. I would have been more dedicated to my training to prepare myself for each upcoming season.
What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
The most difficult obstacle I faced was my head getting in the way of my racing. I would constantly get nervous and anxious right before a meet or race, and I had to find ways to deal with it, like listening to the Frozen soundtrack or writing notes on my hands.
 What will you miss the most?
I will miss my team the most. We were such a small group compared to other schools, which made us even closer. The East River cross country and track teams always stuck together whether it was a hard workout or the different coaches coming in. I have made some of my best friends through running, and I am so thankful to call this team my family.  
What advice you would give to younger athletes?

Have fun. Getting PR’s is always the goal, but if you’re not enjoying your races and having fun, it’s not worth it.
What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?
Considering I have had four coaches, they have all influenced me differently. Coach Naumen was the coach the got me started with running, and taught me that as long as I stick to my training, I will continue to get better. Coach Harmon taught me that it is okay to fail, as long as you get back up. Coach Jesson helped me realize that I have what it takes to run track whether it's in the 1600m or the 4x400m relay. Finally, Coach Collins, my newest coach was one of my biggest influences. She taught me that anything is “do-able”. With her help she was able to help me believe in myself and trust my training. Coach Collins was able to help me become a better runner by focusing in on key things I needed to work on like form, speed, and my sleeping habits.
What are your college plans?
I plan to attend the University of Florida in the fall and try to meet the standards to “walk on” to their Cross Country team.
Who would you like to say thank you to?
I want to say thank you to my team for being the best team I could have been apart of in high school. I also want to say thank you to all my coaches for constantly supporting me and pushing me to be better. Thank you Coach Collins for being such a huge support system and helping me become a better runner. I wouldn’t have been able to do any of it without you, you're the best. A big thanks goes to my dad. You are basically my personal coach, never missing a meet, always running the cross-country course with me. You never fail to be at the 200m on the track coaching me through my events, and even riding the bike during all of my training runs. I would be nowhere without you, so thank you for everything. 


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