Salute to Seniors: A. Barber, M. Reese, & J. O'Donnell

Name: Jada O'Donnell

What was your most memorable race/moment?

My most memorable race moment was winning districts as a team my senior year. After taking second place the year before, we all crossed the finish line confident but unsure of how we placed as a team. Our coach initially thought that we took third, and we were devastated until we checked the results and realized that we had won by two points! 

What was the funniest thing that happened during your running career?

The funniest thing that has happened during my running career was my first varsity track race as a freshman. I went to our home meet to help out with hurdles and ended up eating a huge plate of nachos and some sour patch kids. Right as I finished my coach told me that one of the girls in the 4x1600 was hurt and I had to sub in! I somehow still ended up getting my PR that day! 

Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?

My biggest competition would probably be the other girls in my GAC and district. It is a fight for the first and second places at the district cross country meet and it's always super close because of the strong, hardworking girls from other teams! 

What was your greatest accomplishment?

My greatest accomplishment would be breaking the 4x800 school record last year at sectionals. My relay team ran 10:01 and broke a 20 year school record! We ended up taking 5th by 1 second, which was devastating but made our team hungry and ready to work harder. 

If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running career in high school?

If I could do one thing different it would be to stop competing with the girls on my own team and start working with them. I would also cherish the fact that I got to spend so much time with my best friends every day! 

What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?

The most difficult obstacle during my high school career was never being good enough for myself. Instead of celebrating my accomplishments I would criticize myself for not being as good as other girls. I now realize that running is a gift I am happy for even the smallest of accomplishments! 

What will you miss the most?

I will miss my friend Mette, who was an exchange student from Germany that joined our team this year. She is the hardest worker I know and has brought sunshine to our team! 

What advice would you give to younger athletes?

The advice I give to the younger runners on my team is to enjoy every moment because before you know it you're running your last race! 

What kind of an impact has your coach had on you and your team?

My coach has been an amazing role model to our team! Coach Wright is motivating, inspirational, and knows exactly how to make people feel special and love running.  He has been the best coach I could ask for. 

What are your college plans?

I will be running track and cross country for Columbia College in Columbia, Mo.

Who would you like to say 'thank you' to?

I would like to say thank you to my teammates for creating a hardworking environment for me to learn and grow in. 

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Cherish the moments with your team the most. The long runs, icecream runs, and easy  days are the best bonding moments. Always remember where you came from!