Senior Sendoff - Zach Taylor - Prattville Christian Academy

                                          Zach Taylor

                                                      Prattville Christian Academy 

                                                      My most memorable meet has to be the XC State meet form this year. I had medaled twice already this year, but had yet to break the school record at 18:02. Realizing this could be my last Xc race, I am determined to give it all I had. I go out to a first mile that seems fast, but I keep fighting. Once I reached the switchbacks I ran into some traffic. Pushing through, I reached the second mile and knew there was one left: time to push it. I head towards the 3 mile mark and hear my dad call out the time. Shocked, I then give that finishing kick to the fine are I see the clock still above 18. I crossed the line in 17:52, and felt like I was on cloud 9. I waited for my teammate to finish and we begin celebrating. We were like, "We just finished under 18!! And at the Championships!!" 

                                                      I faced my biggest competition this year at the Beauregard Speed Meet. The times on the heat sheet were all within seconds of each other, making it virtually anyone's race. I took the lead on the first lap of the 1600m, lead the entire race, and held off two other runners down the homestretch to win. I also won the 800m run by pulling from 2nd place and winning by 1 sec at the finish. 

                                                      Out of all my high school accomplishments, winning the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Circle Award stands out the most. It showed that my leadership and dedication to running was seen not only by my teammates, but also my coaches and those from other teams. It truly was an honor. 

                                                      If I had to do it all over, I would probably have started running sooner. I began my career my sophomore year with XC, then added track my jr. year. Knowing now how much fun and all the experiences that come with it, I would have started my freshman year, the year I transferred to PCA. 

                                                      The biggest obstacle that I faced was this year at State. Moments after finishing third in the 1600m at sectionals, I fell and landed on my ankle sideways (ouch!). I had to run the 800m the next day with a very different foot strike than I am accustomed to. The following weekend is State, and my ankle hurts like mess. Wearing a brace, I step out and run the 1600m, not completely up to my standards. Once again, I have to run the 800m Saturday on a bad ankle/foot. The thought of scratching out and calling it a year crossed my mind, but I could not let the younger guys on my team see me quit, that's just not me. So, I suck it up, the gun goes off, and I take to running. The pain was acute, but I knew it was my last H.S. race and people were watching. I crossed the finish line, hobbled over to the infield to take my spikes off (pretty painful), and said my final goodbyes. Needless to say, injury was my biggest obstacle. 

                                                      What I will miss the most is staying in the hotels the night before a State XC or Track championship. We would always find something fun to do no matter were we stayed. Sharing stories, laughing together, and riding the bus to and fro were always just as much fin as they were cramped. 

                                                      My advice for the younger athletes is to never doubt God or yourself. He wants to see us achieve our best, and the only limit to how good you become is truly yourself. Never back down from a tough race and never talk yourself out of anything, because in the end, you will feel better having done it than not. 

                                                      My post H.S. plans include getting prepared to run XC in the fall for the University of Mobile. I will run XC, indoor, and outdoor track there, where I will pursue a minor in Biology w/ a emphasis on Pre-Vet medicine. 

                                                      I would like to say thanks to first God for giving me such a healthy, capable body to run and compete at this level, secondly my parents for driving all over the state basically every weekend to watch me run, a special thanks to coach Monica Greene for always being supportive and encouraging, Coach Lantz for XC and Coach Boyd for being the most chill track coach ever.