PA Salute To Seniors: Natalie Deacon, West Chester Henderson HS


Natalie Deacon - West Chester Henderson HS


What was your most memorable race/competition?
The 4x800 at the 2011 state championships, hands down. I was blessed beyond belief to get to run with three of my best friends and to get to be a part of something so much bigger than myself. Breaking the state record is something that I know all four of us are still trying to comprehend. We were just four normal girls who dreamed big and actually achieved our goal. That season was the most beautiful thing I have ever gotten to be a part of, as our love for one another and competitive fire forced us to work harder for one another than we ever would have worked for ourselves. I can truly say that season changed my life.

Where did you face your biggest competition?

I was blessed to face my biggest competition every single day at practice. Henderson has a strong tradition of excellence and I was so fortunate to get to train with girls who never let up.

Out of all of your high school accomplishments, which stands out the most?
My 1600m race at the Henderson Invitational this year definitely stands out to me. It was only the third time I had ever run the 1600m, so I really did not know what to expect. Thanks to a great set up by Julie Williams I broke the 5 minute barrier and with it my school record. My recovery from that race was the longest I can recall. It really wrecked me, but it was so worth it.

If you could do it all over again, what would you change about your athletic career in high school?
Looking back on my high school athletic career there are plenty of things I wish I had done differently here and there, most of which had to do with my stubbornness to admit to injuries. However, at the end of the day we are called to forget what is behind and to strain toward what is ahead, so I am not big on regrets. We all make mistakes, but I can honestly say that I do not regret a single thing. It all had a purpose and has molded me into who I am today.


What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
Thanks to my stubbornness I wound up with a stress reaction in the beginning of my spring season junior year. I couldn’t run at all for 4 weeks and then spent a few more weeks getting back into things. The thing people never tell you about being injured is that no matter how hard you work, it never feels like enough. I think I went a little crazy over those weeks, but I really do not think I have ever worked harder.





What will you miss the most?

Definitely the relationships built amongst teammates and fellow competitors. The Henderson, Chesmont, and PA track communities are incredible. So many people have impacted me through their support, encouragement, and inspiration and I hope I was able to do the same for them as well. Keep in touch!

Do you have any advice for younger athletes? 

“If at the end of your career all you can say is ‘I was a [state] champion and I won a lot of [races],’ then I’d say it wasn’t worth the time and energy. But if you can look back and say ‘I learned a lot about myself. I did things I never thought possible, both physically and psychologically. I made the most important and lasting friendships of my life. I’ve learned that helping others and seeing them succeed at something is better than having it happen to me,’ then it is without question worth all that you do.”

Enjoy the ride. It doesn’t last forever.

How have your coaches influenced your performances and your life goals overall?
Mr. Lott has been one of the most influential people in my entire life. He sacrifices so much time and energy, especially behind the scenes, to make Henderson a great program. His passion for the sport is unrivaled and contagious. I have been extremely blessed to be coached by Mr. Lott. I know the athlete always gets the credit, but I really wish I could write his name next to all of my times. He has pushed me to become not only a better runner, but a better person. He has seen me at the highest and weakest moments of my life. He has made me do what I do not want to do so that I can do what I do want to do. I cannot thank him enough.

What are your college plans?  
I will be attending Lynchburg College where I will be playing soccer and also running track. I plan to major in Exercise Physiology and eventually become a physical therapist.


To my parents- Thank you for supporting me unconditionally through all the ups and downs. You two know me inside and out and I am proud to call you my best friends.

To my teammates past and present- Thanks for pushing and inspiring me day in and day out. You girls made my HS experience amazing. To the alums, I know I can always count on you girls to show up to my races, shoot me good luck texts, and stalk me on Penntrack. Forever grateful!

To Don Rich, Lex Mercado, Mr. Lopresti, and so many more- Thank you for your unwavering support of PA track and field. I know I speak for most of us when I say that we take what you do for us for granted. Thank you so much for sacrificing your time and energy for us HS runners. PA track and field would not be the same without you guys.

To Mrs. Knisely- Thank you for your endless massages, prayers, words of wisdom, and Isaiah 40:31 race day texts. You are not only my neighbor, but my role model, hero, and friend.

To Emma Keenan- Thanks for always supporting me and for being one of the very few people who can comfort me and make me laugh before races.

To Devon Towell- Thank you for the constant competition and for always giving me a race. Keep your enthusiasm for the sport…it will take you far!

To Sarah Walker- It has actually been pretty cool getting to be in every single one of your big races this season and seeing you improve each time. The sky is the limit. Great things ahead!

Thanks to God for allowing me not only to be able to walk, but to run and to run well. I do not have anything that he has not given me through his grace. I know that all my hard work is just polishing his gifts. It all comes back to him and I pray that he would get the glory.


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