The 2014-2015 school year has provided some great highlights in both cross country and track across the Sunshine State. In the coming weeks many of our seniors will head out to start their college careers both athletically and academically. We wanted to salute them one more time in this special feature and say thank you for your support over the years.
What was your most memorable race/moment?
Winning the 2014 3A State Cross Country Championship with my team and running my PR of 16:15 to help us win. All 4+ years of working up to this and we finally conquered our last meet as seniors.
Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?
I would consider Belen Jesuit and the other in town school, Leon, our rivals. Both schools were well coached and very talented, and we all made each other better. The great thing about Chiles and Leon is a lot of us went to middle school together and we were friends off the course.
What was your greatest accomplishment?
Hands down my greatest accomplishment would be having a huge PR my last meet of my high school career and helping Chiles win the 2014 Cross Country 3A State Championship. At the half mile I saw our team’s #4 runner, Jared Grigas, shoe go flying off and I knew it was my time to shine. Luckily Jared, Ty Murray, Allen Hernandez, Avery Bartlett, Austin Runtschke, and Austin Dodson all put together a great race and we won. It felt amazing to go out on the highest note possible.
If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running career in high school?
I would have probably been a little quieter as a freshman to avoid the constant messing with from my teammates. My only other change would be instead of entering 9th grade at the height of 4’8, coming in a little taller would have helped, but you can’t change your genes.
What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
Physically I had to overcome numerous health problems that made me tougher and also made me tolerate pain and discomfort, so I could keep getting better. Mentally I had to overcome the feeling that eventually my hard work would pay off and in the end it most definitely did.
What will you miss the most?
I will miss racing with all my teammates and how cool it was to watch 10 freshman guys come in to a new school and leave their senior year with state titles and so many memories!
What advice you would give to younger athletes?
The most important thing I would say is to trust your coaching and really grow close to your teammates! To win a State Championship you have to be committed as a team to pour everything you have into that goal!
What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?
Coach Gowan has made me extremely tough and helped in the shaping of my life. He taught us discipline and that hard work will pay off. I’m grateful for the time Coach Gowan poured into my teammates and I.
What are your college plans?
I am heading to the University of North Carolina at Pembroke to run Cross Country and Track for the Braves, where Dr. Peter Ormsby will coach me. There I will be studying religion in hopes of becoming a pastor one day!
Who would you like to say thank you to?
I give all my thanks to my Lord and Savior and all that he has blessed me with. Also, I would say thank you to all my teammates, my family, and Coach Gowan. All of these people have put time and money into making me better and I’m extremely grateful for it.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
A quote that will always be true is: “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. -Vince Lombardi