Salute to Seniors: Erika Mellor

Erika Mellor (DeSoto)

When did you first start running, and do you recall any of your childhood races?
7th Grade, a few in particular

Was there a certain moment when you realized you'd be able to compete at such a high level?
Yes, I learned in 8th grade that as long as I kept working hard, I'd be competitive in high school.

What are some bumps in the road that you've encountered when it comes to training for different events during the season?
Absolutely! There's a fine line between optimal training and overtraining, and it's hard to stay just underneath it. I've struggled with this most during preseason training when doing more mileage and upping intensity.

How did COVID impact your training as you prepared for the season?
It didn't change my training much, but I hated not being able to compete after putting in a great preseason.

Where are you going to college? If you have already committed, what made you choose them?
SEMO!! I ultimately chose this school after getting to know the girls on the team through facetime!! It felt like a great fit, and after dealing with getting recruited based off xc and sophomore track times, I was relieved to finally finish that process.

Let's discuss the college searching process. What was that like, and what schools did you look at?
It was a challenge. Not having a junior season, especially one that I knew was going to be my best one yet, made recruiting a bear. I knew I progressed greatly since sophomore year, but I couldn't prove it to my potential coaches because I didn't get to race during junior year for track. I reached out to several coaches at all levels, and many said they'd keep an eye on me during indoor, which I was hoping to do to get an updated time in. Unfortunately, I got injured weeks before the I could do this, so I blindly signed with SEMO without meeting the coach or team in person (dead period), and I couldn't be more thankful that Coach Lane decided to take a leap of faith with me.

Is there another track event you wish you were good at? What is appealing about it?
The 100! As a mid-distance runner, I can do speed, but never a 100. The short distance would keep me far away from 1,000 m repeats, and that sounds good to me lol

What are some hobbies and interests you have outside of running?
Cooking, dancing, shopping, and being with my friends and teammates.

Who is your role model, and why?
Shelby Houlihan; she's a total beast and dominates at anything she does. She's tough as nails and has such a good mindset.

Everyone has a bucket list, so give us some of things on your list!
Skydive, visit Hawaii, qualify for the Olympics, and run a marathon.

What is the best advice you have received?
If it was easy, everyone would be doing it and to trust the process.

What is your favorite pre-race snack, tradition, etc.?
Before races, I always pray for a good race. I feel it puts me in the right mindset before I run, and it helps me to calm my nerves. I also down beet juice before every big race, but I still refuse to drink it during the regular season lol

If you could do a sport other than XC/Track, what sport would it be, and why?
I would probably pick snowboarding!! Any excuse to be in the mountains!

Any Final Shout outs?
I'm thankful for my coaches, teammates, and my family. I wouldn't have made it to this point without them!