PA Salute To Seniors: Meredith Speakman - Boiling Springs
Photo by Marleen Van den Neste
What was your most memorable race/competition?
My most memorable race was during cross country season of my senior year at the Footlocker Northeast Regional race in Long Island, New York. I ran the best race I have ever run, qualified for Nationals in San Diego, California, and my future college coaches (Syracuse University) spotted me there.
Where did you face your biggest competition?
I faced my biggest competition at the Footlocker National Cross Country Championships in San Diego, California. Every single girl running there was an incredible runner; the best in the country.
Out of all of your high school accomplishments, which stands out the most?
Making it to the Footlocker National Cross Country Championship is the greatest accomplishment in my high school running career. Just to be able to say that I ran in that race with all of the other elite high school runners in the country was just amazing to me.
If you could do it all over again, what would you change about your athletic career in high school?
If I could change anything, I would have been more serious about running and trained harder in my earlier years of high school cross country, but I am happy with how far I have come and the improvements I have made.
What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
The most difficult obstacle that I have overcome is dealing with my confidence. I have always struggled with believing in myself and my training and that I could actually win a race or hit a certain time. Once I got over dealing with the negative thoughts in my head, I ran fast and smart races and in the long run helped me better prepare for my future races.
What will you miss the most?
I will definitely miss being with my teammates the most. I have made so many lasting friendships through being on the cross country and track teams. I will miss having fun at practice, pushing each other through tough workouts, cheering at meets, and pasta parties before big races.
Do you have any advice for younger athletes?
Three things: Hard work pays off, listen to your body, and have fun!! The amount of work you put into running is the kind of results that you will see during the season. Train hard and live the running lifestyle during the season and in the off season. Also, make sure you are listening to your body. Pushing hard is good, but make sure that you aren’t pushing too hard that you might injure yourself or burn out. Having fun is essential because running is painful enough, so make sure that you enjoy what you are doing! Don’t stress about racing, just give it your all and do your best! That is all your coaches and parents can ask for of you!
How have your coaches influenced your performances and your life goals overall?
My Coaches (Coach Jim Boyer and Coach Josh Foulds) were not only incredible coaches, but were genuine people as well. They helped me to achieve my goals and pushed me to be my very best. The workouts that they prepared were specifically engineered toward my running style and the little things I needed to improve on. They ran with me and were always happy and positive. I could have a bad day at school, but that would change when I showed up at practice. They helped me to believe in myself and my training. Coach Boyer would tell me before post season big races, “the hay is in the barn.” He meant that I have put in the time and effort; all I need to do is race and give it my all. That helped me to stay relaxed and believe that I could really do it! They cared about everyone on the team, whatever skill level the runner was. Even though practices were sometimes grueling and tough, they always made them fun. Coach Boyer and Coach Foulds really helped to increase the intensity of my passion for running. They were great coaches and I am really going to miss them next year!!
What are your college plans?
I am going to be running cross country and track for the Syracuse Orange next year while majoring in Business Marketing and Management at the Whitman School of Business.
My sister, Morgan- Thank you so much for being my biggest cheerleader and fan and always picking me up when I was down. I am going to miss you sooo much next year!
Mom and Dad- Thank you for teaching me the importance of hard work and dedication. Also, for being there for me and always being at my meets to cheer me on.
Coach Boyer and Coach Foulds- Thank you for putting so much time and effort into coaching and always being positive. The best coaches anyone could ever ask for!
Coach Spence- Thank you for the helpful workouts and hints that really helped me become the runner I am now.
Shannon Greenbaum (my best friend)- Thank you for being the best friend anyone could ever ask for! Thank you for being funny and carefree, cheering for me at all of my races, and helping me to stay relaxed when I was stressed out!
BSHS Cross Country and Track Teams- Thank you for being so fun, supportive, and encouraging. The constant encouragement and cheering really helped the team to be successful this year. Along with being successful, I had a lot of fun just running with the team and growing to become close friends. I am going to miss you guys next year!!