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Third Time’s The Charm: Two Athletes’ Journey to State

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5.07 AAA Qualifier 511

Competing at the AAA Track & Field State Finals is a huge honor. Only eight athletes in each event compete at the finals. Emerald Girls’ Track is proud to send Haley McLaughlin and Elizabeth Self to the State Finals this weekend. This will be their third consecutive year competing at the State Finals together. We caught up with them to find out their thoughts about each other and the upcoming competition this weekend.

Section 1:  Comment on Your Teammate

  • Describe (Haley or Liz) in 5 words or less: 
    • Liz: Haley is hard-working and kind.
    • Haley: [Liz is] Dedicated, hardworking, determined, talented, and encouraging
  • What makes (Haley or Liz) a great competitor?
    • Liz: Haley strives to be the best on and off of the field. Her dedication year round to track and field and her kindness to others is a winning combination.
    • Haley: Liz is very focused on achieving her goals. Her ability to focus on placing well in four events combined with her determination makes her a fierce competitor.
  • How does it feel to be going to State for the 3rd year in a row with the same teammate?
    • Liz: I am excited and know that we will have a great time.
    • Haley: It is honestly exciting. Liz is a great athlete and it means a lot to get to compete at state with her once again. I have always enjoyed watching her compete and I do not always get the chance to do so at smaller meets because our events are at the same time.
  • How long have you known (Haley or Liz), and do you have any contact outside of track practice?
    • Liz: I have known Haley since 9th grade and outside of track practice we have a lot of fun going to home and away Emerald football games.
    • Haley: I have known Liz since freshman year, and we have been close friends inside and outside of practice since.
  • Predict (Haley or Liz)’s performance at the State Meet this year:
    • Liz: I believe that Haley will set a new personal record clearing 10 feet. Definitely in the top 3 at State.
    • Haley: Liz will no doubt compete her best in all of her events. I do not know all of her goals, but I am sure that she will reach them. I can see Liz placing within the top three in the majority of her events.
Section 2:  The State Finals
  • Do you have a special routine on meet days?
    • Liz: I take it easy. I try to relax and not overthink what is ahead. I reassure myself that I have trained mentally, physically and emotionally and that my best is what I am going to deliver. I eat healthy food, watch a movie and go to bed early.
    • Haley: Meet days are a whole day routine for me. All throughout the day I focus on staying hydrated, eating well, and visualizing my events. Once I get to the meet, if it is a regular season meet, I warm up with the team and then head straight to vault and begin warming up and preparing for competition. If I am competing at larger meets like invitationals or state, I go through warm ups on my own and then head to the pole vault pit and begin my vaulting preparations.
  • What advice do you have for other track athletes who want to one day compete at the State Finals?
    • Liz: Work hard and never listen to negative comments from anyone. You can do anything you set your mind to with focus, dedication and the will to succeed.
    • Haley: Stay focused, and never give up on your goals. I know that for me, the end of the season is tough. A lot of times I am not totally satisfied with my progress over the season, so it is easy to slack off. As long as you stay focused and compete to the best of your ability, goals become reality. State is extremely competitive, but as long as you have the goal to compete at the finals in your head, competing at state is possible.
  • What is your favorite part of the State Meet experience?
    • Liz: I enjoy the being with my teammates, coaches and representing the Vikings. The State Finals can be overwhelming and the level of competition is truly amazing. I am honored to just be competing and hopefully making our school proud.
    • Haley: Competing at state is obviously very exciting, but my favorite part of the whole experience is spending the weekend with my team. The whole season we are all focused on getting so state to the point where we don’t get to just hang out and have fun. It’s always enjoyable to watch each other compete, sit and talk, and overall just relax and enjoy the fact that we made it to state together.
  • What is one or more of your goals this weekend?
    • Liz: My goals this weekend are to set a new personal record in one or more of my events, finish strong, and to have fun! I want to have solid performances and learn from the experience.
    • Haley: I set three goals for myself at the beginning of this season. My first goal was to make it to the State Finals once again, which I have already achieved. My second goal is to medal at state, which I feel confident in reaching this weekend. My final goal, which I set at the end of the season last year, is to clear 10′. My PR is right underneath 10′ now and I am going to do all that I can to clear 10′ on Friday. I have always wanted to get a new PR at State because I just think that it would be exciting, so that is my motivation for this weekend.

 

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