Salute To Seniors: Jared Hayes - West Shore High School

The 2017-2018 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. (Photo by Cedric Gillette)

Today we salute West Shore senior Jared Hayes.

What was your most memorable race/moment?

My most memorable race moment was when I broke two minutes in the 800m my freshman year at the 2A Region 4 meet. My goal all season was to break two minutes. I was consistently was running 2:01's so it felt great to finally to dip under two minutes. 

Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?

I would say my biggest competitor over the four years was myself. I always made sure I focused on my own performance rather getting caught up in other peoples times. I wanted to make sure I was improving as an individual and progressing each season. There were many times where I would have a bad race or get a slight injury. Events like these are tough but I persevered and in the end I was able to reach my goal of running a sub 1:56 800m 

What was your greatest accomplishment?

My greatest accomplishment was when I qualified for state for the first and last time at the 3A Region 4 meet (2018). The previous two years I was tripped in the last 200 meters at the regional meet and failed to move on. I waited over two year for the opportunity to run at the state meet and when I crossed the finish line at the regional meet this year in second place, I felt a sense of relief and I felt an immense sense of joy. 

If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running career in high school?

I would tell myself to put less stress on myself in workouts and races. It is easy to become distracted with hitting certain times and improving in each race. If you train consistently and do your best each time, you'll improve in the long run and I wish I understood that when I was in seventh grade.

What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?

In my sophomore and junior year I had tripping incidents at the regional meets. Both were very bad ways to end a season. It hurt to work so hard over the long season just to end up face down on the track. These incidents fired me up the next year and I improved as a runner from these moments. I learned to race smarter and my times decreased as a used failure to motivate me. I believe everything happens for a reason and I'm glad I was able to grow from them.

What will you miss the most?

I will miss the people the most. I was fortunate to grow close to all the athletes both in my grade and other grades. I have spent up to three years with most of them and it is sad to move on and go my own way. We all went through painful workouts, and broke school records together on relay races so some runners have become almost family. I am glad we were able to run together and we will be friends for life.

What advice you would give to younger athletes?

I would advise younger athletes to slow down and enjoy the moment. I found myself wanting to grow up fast and I sometimes forgot to live in the moment. Even though workouts are difficult and season are long, make sure to try to make the most of it because you'll be graduating before you know it. 

What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?

My coaches throughout the years have had significant influence with regards to  my performance and life goals. They have shown to me that through hard work you can reach your dreams. Nothing worth having in life comes easy and I was constantly reminded this. Without the guidance of my coaches I would not have ran the times I have. My coaches have provided me with the life skills of perseverance and resilience that i'll carry with me for the rest of my life. 

What are your college plans?

I will be attending the University of North Florida. I am majoring in nursing. My ultimate goal is to become a CNRA. 

Who would you like to say thank you to?

I would first like to thank God for everything he has done with my life and track career. Secondly, I would like to thank my Dad/Coach for providing me with workouts and support for the past 6 years. I also would like to thank my mom for coming to all of my meets. I appreciate all her support and recording all of my races. I couldn't have been the runner I am without the help of my brothers (Austin and Christian) and my teammates throughout the years. I enjoyed their friendly competition during every run and workout. I finally would like to thank the coaching staff at the University of North Florida for giving me the opportunity to run at the next level    

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

I will be documenting my college experience on my YouTube channel for the next four years. If you want to follow a long, feel free to check out my videos on my channel, "Jared Hayes". 

Seniors, don't be left out! Submit your Salute to Seniors answers to and be featured on the site!