Salute to Seniors: N. Key, A. Kelley, D. Venkatesan

Name: Nathan Key

School: Seckman High School

What was your most memorable race/moment?

There are two moments throughout my four years in high school that I would consider my most memorable. One of these moments would be qualifying for state in the 4x400 meter relay my freshman year. This was an awesome experience because by having two senior teammates on the relay showed me the value of hard work and how difficult it is making it to the state competition. The other most memorable moment was my Cross Country Sectionals race my Junior year. The weather was cold, windy, and there were even snow flurries during the race. Despite the conditions, I was able to PR and qualify for state along with my teammate Zach Reed. It was awesome to be able to accomplish that with my teammate as we both worked extremely hard during the summer and all season to get to the state meet.

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

The funniest thing that has happened during my running career was accidentally wearing my sister's uniform shorts at the Conference meet my Freshman cross country season. Her shorts looked extremely similar to mine and I did not realize I was wearing hers until I was at the starting line warming up and I knew the shorts were too tight and a little too short. All my teammates and coaches made fun of me the rest of the season but I ran my freshman year PR so I guess it worked out!

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

I have raced against a lot of good competition throughout high school, but my biggest competition has definitely been my own teammate Zach Reed. We have our own friendly rivalry and we always enjoy the challenge of racing against one another. We are constantly pushing each other at practice and trying to make each other the best runners we can be. I would not be the runner I am today without him.

What was your greatest accomplishment?

My greatest accomplishment would have to be having the opportunity to run at both the State Cross Country Meet and the State Track Meet multiple times. Although I was not

able to get exactly the results I wanted, it was such a great experience to run against the best athletes in the state and facing that level of competition.

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

If I could do it all over again, I would change absolutely nothing about my running career. I have enjoyed the many friendships I have made and the improvements I have made as a runner. I enjoyed all four years of high school running and I would not change a thing. Definitely no regrets!

What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?

I have been pretty lucky to not have had any injuries throughout high school and I am thankful to have remained healthy. The most difficult obstacle would just have to be staying mentally positive even when things did not always work out the way you want them to. My junior year of track our 4x800m relay ran an 8:01 but still finished 6th at the sectional meet. The guys and I were disappointed as we worked extremely hard but were not going to have the opportunity to run at state. However, we realized we still ran a solid time and had one more year to accomplish our goal. Despite some injuries to a few guys on the relay, we were able to qualify our 4x800m relay to the state meet. Even though we did not run as fast as we did the previous year, we still enjoyed reaching our goal and keeping a positive attitude.

What will you miss the most?

Our Varsity boys XC and Distance team have a tradition of eating Waffle House for breakfast before every Saturday meet. We made so many good memories at these breakfasts and I will miss getting up early and seeing the boys for a quality Waffle House breakfast.

What advice would you give to younger athletes?

The advice I would give to younger athletes would be to enjoy every moment of being on the team. High School goes by way too fast so it is extremely important to make memories and not wish the time away.

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

I have had the opportunity to have had multiple amazing coaches throughout my four years. I am thankful for all the time that Coach Graham, Coach Roach, Coach Dunlop, Coach Tinsley, and Coach Hodge have put in to help me become a better runner. They each brought their own unique style to the team and I appreciate the positive atmosphere they created on the team at Seckman. They have all impacted my running career in a positive way!

What are your college plans?

I will be attending Truman State University and will continue to run Cross Country and Track there. I'm looking forward to being a Bulldog!

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

First off I would like to thank God for all the blessings in my life. Big shout out to all the teammates I have had. I am also thankful for my parents for attending as many meets as they could and for buying my running shoes. Another thank you to my sister Joclyn and my brother Jonny for supporting me and also being some of the best teammates I have had. To the coaches I got to know in high school, Coach Graham, Coach Roach, and Coach Dunlop, thank you for all you guys have done! Another thank you to Mr. Alden for being one of the coaches who got me my first running watch and introducing me to running. Lastly, I would like to say thank you to Coach Hodge for coaching me since I was an awkward 5th grade boy showing up to the high school practices. He has put in a lot of his time coaching me and helping me along in the college decision process. I am thankful that he has taken time out of his busy family life to be at practices, meets, and helping me continue to improve!

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

I'd like to give a shoutout to the JagPirates (you know who you are). Also I would like to say thank you to Milesplit for the awesome coverage they provide to high school athletes! They do an excellent job and I have enjoyed using their website to look at rankings, photos, and my own personal stats. S/O to everyone who helps make