Senior Heroes Carley Craig, Brookhaven High

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Q: What does your training look like right now given the current situation?
A: I actually got injured after cross country season, and I had surgery on my knee in February. This week was my last visit to physical therapy, and I am now on a "return to running program." I get to run in 5 minute increments 2-3 times a week currently.

Q: What are you doing to stay busy other than run right now?
A: Thankfully, we've had pretty nice weather here, so I've been working on my tan. I also sewed some masks for my dad who works at the Health Department in Jackson. And I've started.. and finished.. a few shows on Netflix.

Q: What was your most memorable race/moment?
A: The district track meet my first year, I had a fever. I run the 3200, and it had to have been at least 90 degrees outside. I just remember feeling like I was literally on fire during that race, and of course Coach still didn't think I was sick

Q: What was the funniest thing that happened during your running career?
A: My 8th grade cross country season, we were just doing an easy run at practice. It was the first time I was going to run 5 miles ever. As I came down the hill at mile 2, I tripped over literal air and fell. I ended up breaking my arm. Coach Knott was right there at the bottom of the hill, and he still never lets me live it down.

Q: Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?
A: Pearl has always been one of my favorites to run against. Even though we're not in the same category at State, we both have really good programs with a reputation. So at every race, whether cross country or track, I feel like both teams knew who we were trying to beat.

Q: What was your greatest accomplishment?
A: My sophomore year of cross country, at the state meet. I remember at mile one trying to come up with an excuse to tell Coach Knott as to why I dropped out of the race. And then he said something like "get up there with her" or "you can do it," and I got a new wave of energy. I ended up being the first girl for Ole Brook and 11th in the state. I was pretty amazed at myself.

Q: If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running career in high school?
A: I wish I would've worked a little harder my first 2 years. But other than that, I loved every second of my running career. I think I would appreciate every little moment more, and understand all the things Coach made us do.

Q: What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
A: They say running is 90% mental, and they definitely are not wrong. My biggest obstacle was my head. But a big thing my whole team had to overcome was losing state junior year. We all agree that it made us so much better and more unified in the end though.

Q: What will you miss the most?
A: Definitely the people. You can always keep running as you grow up, but you'll never get that same experience. I'll miss the pasta dinners and the pool parties and the bus rides. I'll miss all the laughs and hugs with success and failures. I'll even miss the awful workouts we ran together, pushing each other through the pain.

Q: What advice would you give to younger athletes?
A: I would say to make sure you always enjoy it. It's the absolute saddest thing when you start to loathe running. Always give it your best, even if it's not the best.

Q: What kind of an impact has your coach had on you and your team?
A: Coach Knott is one of a kind. He knows what it's like to be a runner. He has taught me a lot about strength, perseverance, and passion. And I think I speak for the whole team with that. Coach became our friend. He always checks up on you. He tells you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. He's so passionate about helping us and guiding us to be our best selves. And he always reminds us, that we have it in us to do whatever we set our minds to.

Q: What are your college plans?
A: I will be attending Ole Miss and majoring in biochemistry. Ultimately, I will go to grad school and get my PhD in neuroscience.

Q: Who would you like to say 'thank you' to?
A: I would like to say thank you to my teammates, who were always there for me. They picked me up on bad days, and celebrated with me on good ones. They made workouts bearable, and long runs worthwhile. And to Coach Knott, who pushed me when I didn't want to be pushed and showed me the strength I have. And to my parents, who were always at the end of the line, waiting with some water and a hug.

Q: Favorite Meal?
A: It's no surprise, but I love any pasta. I'm down for Velveeta Mac and cheese, or Mrs. Cathe's homemade lasagna.

Q: If you could be any animal what would you choose? and why?
A: I would be an owl because they can fly, which is always the superpower I wanted. Plus they can see all around them by turning their head, and see at night.

Q: Your favorite superhero?
A: Elastigirl from The Incredibles. Not only is she a great superhero, she also balances being a mom and wife. She is a woman who can do it all.