Salute To Seniors: Josh McDaniel - Lakeland

What was your most memorable meet?
The meet that most dramatically stands out to me is from last year when I lost the 2011 3A State Championship. Although I felt like I could have won the meet, I did not do a good job of trusting in my coach or myself as the vaults got more diffficult. However, I did learn a lot from it and it was one of the key motivations that led me to be a much more competitive vaulter this season and helped me win the 2012 3A State Championship. 
Where did you face your biggest competition?
The biggest competition for me was the 2012 3A State Championship with good friend and club teammate Winston Perry from Cardinal Gibbons. While there were some really good vaulters at the meet, Winston was the guy that I knew would take advantage of my mistakes because he works hard all the time and tries not to make any himself. He is a very tough competitor and made me better just by being there.
Out of all of your high school accomplishments which stands out the most?
The greatest high school accomplishment has to be setting the Lakeland Sr. High pole vault record and becoming the first State Champion in pole vaulting since the school was formed in 1889.
If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running career in high school?

The only thing I would change about my high school career is thanking the coaches, family and friends who helped and encouraged me along the way even more. People like Coach Castle in football and weightlifting, Coach Forsett in track, and of course Coach Haeck my vault coach. These men along with many others made huge investments of time, they can’t afford to waste, in my life as a student/athlete and as a young man so I will always place great value on them and the contribution they have made to me. Hopefully one day soon I will be able to give some of that investment back.
What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?

For me mental obstacles are much more difficult than physical obstacles and are the ones I have to watch out for. Additionally, I had to overcome the fear of letting my coaches, friends and family down. My desire is always to be the best so I have to constantly remember that fear and doubt is an athletes’ enemy and it will shut you down if you let it get hold of you. 
What will you miss the most?

Over the years my track coaches and teammates have become like family so I will miss the camaraderie and all of us challenging each other at practice and in meets. No one ever wanted to lose so getting better each day was just a natural progression.
Do you have any advice for younger athletes? 

The best advice I can give is to always put God first in your life and you will be a lot happier with all the outcomes, both positive and negative. Respect and thank your family, friends, teachers and coaches for everything they do for you. Nobody owes you anything in spite of what you may have been told, especially a coach or teacher so work like you are competing in your last meet or taking your last test Never leave anything on the table when you compete in an event or assignment. All of your energy should be spent on the track or on the field giving your heart and soul to your team. You do that every time you go out and I promise you will accomplish great things today, tomorrow and for the rest of your life.
What are your college plans? 

After a year of recruiting visits and what seems like at least a couple thousand emails to Coaches, I am happy to say I am done. I will be attending the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in the fall on an academic and athletic scholarship. 
Who would you like to say thank you to?

I would like to say thank you to Jason, Todd and all the people who are involved in the production and maintenance of FLRunners. You guys make a quality product look easy and you do a wonderful job of telling us all about each other which to me is a big part of the fun of our great sport. Keep up the great work and thank you for allowing me to share some thoughts.