Salute To Seniors: Kaitlin Rodriguez - Creekside

Salute To Seniors - Kaitlin Rodriguez - Creekside

What was your most memorable race?

There isn’t really a race that sticks out to me as being the most memorable. When I think of that question, I think back to this year during a track meet. It happens to be the district meet. During the day we were doing okay, but we knew that if we wanted to become district champs, every single point counted. We started off with the 4x800 and got second, but hoped for first. We didn’t let that bother us, we just set that aside so that we could focus on all our other races we had that night. We were never winning the meet by that many points. Our district is filled with a lot of great teams all around and everyone was separated by just a couple points. Going into the 1600, I didn’t expect it to be nearly as close as it came to be. The top four times were all 5:18 and everyone was fighting until they crossed the finish line. Bartram Trail girls ran AMAZING races and had huge PRs during that race and that’s what stirred everything up.  The meet kept going on and we were floating around 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, but right then and there is when I thought it was just going to be between us and BT. By the time the 3200 came up, it was time to score as many points as possible. We all needed to run with our hearts and leave it all on the track; and no matter what happened, at least we would know we gave it our all. Time went on, and Creekside was fortunate enough to capture a total of 16 points. The last event was all that was left and our 4x400 girls had no idea how we stood as a team (points wise). They had one goal: Run for each other and be an X-Factor. I have never seen anything like it. They did everything they could and by the end of the meet, Creekside was District Champs by a mere 1.5 points. That was the most memorable track meet of my life.

There is one more moment that is pretty memorable to me that happened in the middle of a race. It was my freshman year and I was running the 3200m at the Region Meet. As I kept going around the track, I was almost done with the race and I hear Coach Frank scream, “1,000m to go. We eat those for breakfast!!!!” That is definitely one moment I will never forget. I ended up finishing in first place in 11.17 and Creekside was runner-up as a team.

Where did you face your biggest competition?

Florida Relays in the 3200m, when I placed 9th with 11.05.00. Anne Marie Blaney killed it and ran 10.35 to win!

Out of all of your high school accomplishments which stands out the most? 

I was part of a 4x800 team that got first, and then I came in first for the 1600 and the 3200 in the conference meet this year. Creekside was the team champion of the meet.

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

I wish I would have paid more attention to taking care of the “little things”. If I could go back, I would focus more on getting enough sleep, drinking more water, and eating better.

What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?

My freshman year going into track was hard in the beginning. My sister Lauren was out for the whole season with a broken knee from flag football. When I found out that she wasn’t going to be running this year, I was devastated. I felt so bad for her because I know how much running means to her and most of all the whole team. It was so different running alone and not having my sister by my side in every single workout and race; but she did EVERYTHING she could. She still cheered everyone while she crutched around the track with a big orange cast on her leg.  Nothing held her back and that’s what I love about LT. (Lauren)

What will you miss the most?

Being on the Creekside cross country and track and field team is something I am going to miss a lot. Every single practice was always so much fun!! Everyone out there was dedicated to running and they were always encouraging their teammates during workouts. The team is so close and we are always doing various things together (Geocaching during long runs).

Coach Frank is nothing short of amazing! He is such a fun person to be around and every time I am with him, more memories are made. He is so knowledgeable and always wants to learn more about running. He puts so much effort into this sport and he is part of the reason why Creekside has been so successful. I am going to miss everything a lot.

Do you have any advice for younger athletes?

“If you take care of the little things, the big things will take care of themselves.” -Joe Paterno

Take advantage of the four years you are given to compete in running. Work hard in everything you do so that regrets won’t come your way. But sometimes, regrets can make you change into a better person and runner.

What are your college plans?  

I will be attending Flagler College to continue my running career as a Saint!!!

Who would you like to say thank you to?

I would like to thank Coach Frank for making the last four years of my high school career the best years of my life. Also, a big thanks to Coach Navs for everything he has done for me and the team while being extremely busy with work and his family. And last but not least, Coach Gooding for being at every single practice and running with us, while teaching and being a student at UNF. 

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