Salute to Seniors VIII

Name: McKenna Butler 

School:Lee's Summit West

Q: What does your training look like right now given the current situation?

A: Initially, we practiced as we normally would at that point in the season, just in smaller training groups to keep ourselves focused and moving forward. Currently, with the tighter restrictions, we have had to break up even further into pairs or train alone to get the work done that we would if it was still a typical season.

Q: What are you doing to stay busy other than run right now?

A:Movies, running, homework, facetiming...eating

Q: What was your most memorable race/moment?

A:I think my most memorable race was my junior year at New Balance. There's so many feelings and moments from that 4x8 that I remember so vividly. The loop we ran for warm up in the grass, Griffin's pre-race pep talk, the conversations we had with a team from Boulder while we waited and tried to avoid thinking about the nerves, the moment I got the baton, trying not to look at myself on the big screen down the back stretch, and of course watching Jana finish the race through in disbelief that the clock had not reached 9:00.

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

A:I truly feel as though fighting the boundaries and discomfort within myself was the biggest competition I had while racing. We tried to avoid setting sights on one person as our competition or 'goal', and just finishing every race satisfied and proud of ourselves. Success was never based on someone else's defeat or victory.

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

A:Absolutely nothing.

Q: What will you miss the most?

A:Truthfully, I will miss the girls that have pushed with me through every workout, traveled coast to coast to do what we loved together, and lined up next to me at every meet. To all of the teammates I have had throughout this journey, I am grateful beyond words for you and the memories we have made. To my fellow LSW senior gals, while I am so excited to continue running at the next level, I know that it will be so very different without each of you by my side. However, Jesse Griffin, you come a close second behind... Even though we often groan at most of things you say, we always know that you have our best interest in mind. Your faith in us has never faltered, and I know I would not be half the person I have become because of you. Thank you.

Q: What advice would you give to younger athletes?

A:Do the work (yes, all the little things). Remember that soreness and pain is temporary. Fearlessly trust your coaches, your training, and yourself. Love running (find your joy in the sport), and be sure to seize every opportunity that youGET TO run.

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

A:Coach Griffin. So many words could be said about G$. All of our accomplishments, both as individual athletes and as a team, are attributed to the day-in and day-out work that he puts forth. I undoubtedly believe that his passion and confidence in me throughout all four of my years at Lee's Summit West is the reason I am the person I am today. He taught me life-long lessons of discipline and commitment, the impacts of a positive, goal-oriented attitude, and proved to me that hard work and all the little things truly do pay off. But above all else, Griffin taught me to not only trust those who invest their time and effort into helping me grow, but to always trust myself and the work I have done.

Q: What are your college plans?

A:I will be running and studying Biomedical Engineering at the University of Missouri.

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

A:First and foremost, I want to thank my family. Mom and dad, I know you've had your share of rubbing out sore muscles for me, getting sore from running around cross country courses to watch me, and some earlyyyy mornings for practices and meets. I hope you know how much I appreciate you both. Trev and Ty, thanks for surprising me at meets and motivating me to make it clear that yes, the youngest child and the girl is in fact the most athletic. The biggest thank you of all, however, is to the even biggerTitan Family. The girls, the coaches, and all the familiar faces that I probably have given the worst looks to in the middle of a cross country race, but know are there to support me. THANK YOU!