What was your most memorable race?
2011 Track and Field State Championship. It was my junior year and I had qualified in the 1600m. The previous year I placed 9th, one away from all state, and I was devastated. With that in mind, I was ready to kill it that race. I ended up placing 7th and went home with a smile on my face, a medal around my neck, and my first school record.
Who was your biggest competition?
Myself. There were many races, especially in cross country where I was not mentally there. I had lost confidence, I felt pressured, and I couldn’t come up with the results I wanted. I was doing all the physical things correctly, but mentally my focus was somewhere else. Once I got into that downward spiral, it was hard to get out.
Out of all of your high school accomplishments, which one stands out the most?
The accomplishment that sticks out to me is my 3200m race at state this year. If you go back to freshmen year and asked me what I thought about the two mile, I would have told you, you would never make me run that, I was bad at that race and I hated it. Little did I know what I would be doing my senior year. I had decided to try the 3200 out again and I found success my first time racing it since I was a freshmen. At the end of the season, I made it through to state and placed 3rd. It was pretty surreal to me, when I finished I didn’t really believe it, and now I’m so thankful my coach pushed me to run it this year.
If you could do it all over again, what would you change about your running career in high school?
I would run more with other people in the off season. Having a training partner makes running that much more fun and I train better when I’m not constantly checking my watch. Time flies when you have someone else to run with. Other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing. There were ups and downs throughout the four years but ultimately, it made me the person I am today.
What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
Failure. No one likes to fail in anything, let alone something you love to do. I cannot even count the amount of bad races or workouts I suffered through. In the moment, they felt like the end of the world but once I got past that stage I realized that this kind of thing happens and life goes on. The bad races and workouts ended up helping me in the long run. I used them for motivation to do better the next time and they made me stronger mentally.
What will you miss the most?
I will miss my friends and teammates. I’ve met some of my best friends through running. I’ve enjoy seeing them at meets where we can cheer each other on and push the other to do better. Runners understand each other and we need to stick together.
Do you have any advice for younger athletes?
Never give up or underestimate what you can do. There are things I accomplished in my running career that I would have never thought possible my freshmen year. When you believe in the ability you’ve been given and the training you’ve done to prepare, you’d be surprised what you can accomplish. Don’t forget to have fun too! Ignore the pressure you are surrounded with and enjoy what you are doing.
What are your college plans?
I will be attending Indiana University this fall with my brother Adam Behnke. We will be running cross country and indoor/outdoor track. I am studying Exercise Science there in hopes to one day become a Physical Therapist.
Who would you like to say thank you to?
This might take awhile... First and foremost, I thank God for the talent he has given to me and all glory should go to Him always. Next I thank my family, especially one of my big brothers, Adam. He is the one who inspired me to run and continues to inspire me today. He is my role model, my coach, and one of my best friends; I wouldn’t know what to do without him. The rest of my family is always so supportive of what I do and I cannot thank them enough for the love they give to me. Thank you to Coach Johnston, Coach Behling, and Coach Denoyer. They have been incredible coaches for me and my team through the example they set and the encouragement they provide for us. Big thanks to my team, they had to put up with me at practice every day and they are my second family. Lastly, thanks to my friends. My friends who don’t run, don’t always understand why I run but are always there to cheer me on and respect the effort I put into my sport. My friends who do run are amazing, I can’t even describe how much I rely on them and how great they have been to me in high school. Lastly, thank you to MO Milesplit for all the hard work you put into this site and the coverage you do. To everyone I mentioned above, I love you all and thank you again, I could not have made it this far without all of you.
Want to be featured in our Salute To Seniors series? Email PEverett@milesplit.com and answer the questions above! Congratulations to the class of 2012 on all their hard work and success.