Throughout the summer, we will be honoring graduating seniors with our annual Salute to Seniors series! To submit your own questionnaires to be posted on the front page of PennTrackXC, check out this page and email your responses to Dan Beck (email@example.com)
Falasco wrapped up a strong high school career in the sprints. He was a state qualifier in the 200 meters in Class AA last spring. Falasco took second in the 200 meters at the District 1 AA Championships last year. He posted personal bests of 11.33 in the 100 meters, 22.45 in the 200 meters, and 52.42 in the 400 meters.
Falasco reflected on his career for PennTrackXC.
What was your most memorable race/competition?
There were a few good races that instantly popped into my head but there is really only one answer to this. My last high school race was most definitely the most memorable race I ran over the past 4 years. I had made it past the first round on the 200m prelims and was seeded as one of the top 8 going into the semis. I was extremely nervous and I remember how desperately I wanted to make it to the final. While I was warming up I remember just taking a moment to look up at the packed stands and all the other athletes warming up and just admire how far I had come and to just enjoy the moment. I ended up running a very poor race and did not make the final. That also was unknowing the last high school race I would run but its a positive memory because I took the time to enjoy the awesome moment.
Where did you face your biggest competition?
My biggest competition was in just about every meet I ran in high school. I had the privilege of being in the same league and district and Dock Mennonite and had to race Austin Kratz multiple times a season for my first two years. While it was disappointing that I would never have a chance to win a race when he was there, I always happily took the opportunity to run against a national champion and it usually followed with a pr. I always had the privilege of running against Donavan Sanders since I was in 6th grade and started AAU track. We've been pushing each other for years and I'm extremely happy to see all the work he has put in pay off and I hope to continue to run against him in the future.
Out of all of your high school accomplishments, which stands out the most?
I would say my best accomplishment is simply making it through my junior track season and accomplishing everything I did in it. Coming into the season, I had struggled with multiple different injuries for well over a year and was needing a good, healthy season. Only a few months before the outdoor season was due to start, I found out I needed surgery on both of my legs; I had a condition called compartment syndrome. The doctor gave me the choice of either getting the surgery then and missing the season or pushing through it and waiting till after. I chose the latter and I'm extremely glad I did. Despite extreme pain all the time, I was able to break my school record in the 200m, become a league champion, district runner-up, and state semifinalist. For a season I was not even supposed to run in, this is a pretty good list of accomplishments in my book.
If you could do it all over again, what would you change about your athletic career in high school?
If I could start over I would have worked much harder and taken track more seriously freshman year. Coming into high school, I was used to winning every race simply based on my raw talent, but obviously you can do that when you're competing against guys that are 4 years older than you. From day 1 I would have set goals and worked to achieve them everyday. I can only imagine where I would be now if I had done that.
What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
I already went into this in the other question but most of my high school career was plagued with injuries. Both my sophomore and junior seasons I only practiced about once a week due to numerous injuries and was not able to properly develop because of this. I spent hours upon hours every day doing rehab just to come back to a new injury. It's rough knowing I never got to see my full potential in high school and it's even rougher knowing that most of it was out of your control. Even to this day I am not back to full speed and it is an everyday battle against giving up so that one day I may finally see my full potential.
What will you miss the most?
I'll miss practicing with my teammates and my coaches the most. I'll also miss running at the district and state championships, those are truly some of the most fun and entertaining meets to be a part of. There are also things that I'll miss that I won't even know I missed out on because of this lost senior season. I had a feeling that this year was really going to be the year where I showed people what I can do and where I made a name for myself but it never came to happen. I'll never know how well I might have done and I'll never know the feeling of running my last race while knowing it.
Do you have any advice for younger athletes?
This is pretty standard stuff but work hard EVERYDAY to get closer to the GOALS you have set for yourselves. Even if it is something small like stretching or mobility, do something everyday because it adds up. Also, I can't emphasize enough how much things like sleep and a good diet help with everything. Lastly, just have fun and enjoy the ride because it goes by much faster than you think.
How have your coaches influenced your performances and your life goals overall?
My main coach for most of my life has been my mom. I would not be where I am today without her. She has coached me throughout my whole career up until this point. From my very first race in 6th grade to my last race at the state championships, she was right there by my side. She has taught me to work hard for whatever I want to achieve and to chase after my goals. She has supported me always, no matter how crazy my goals are and has taught me to do what makes me happy. I would not be who I am today as a track athlete of a human being without the support of my coach and mom.
What are your post-high school plans?
I will be taking next year to focus on my continued recovery and training to hopefully get the proper time to find the right fit for me. I intend on running at a high level college at some point but had hoped that my senior year would set me up for that.
Of course shout out to my parents for always supporting me and making me who I am today as an athlete and a person. To Coach Brown, Smith, and McFarland for being such a positive influence in my life and always being there for me when I needed it. To Jason, Phil, and Dr. Manta for helping me through all my injuries and putting up with my craziness. To my friends for always supporting me and having my back. And last but least, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for giving me the talent to run and giving me the strength to push through the trials of the past few years.