(3-4 minute read)
Preston Speed is a middle-distance runner who just recently graduated from Jackson Preparatory School in Flowood, MS. In Speed's senior year, he ran lifetime PR's of 1:58.1 in the 800m, 4:36.9 in the 1600m, as well as running 16:37 in the 5k - A top 10 finish in the Gold Division at the 2020 MC Watson Invitational. At the 2020 MAIS State Meet, Speed won the 1600m and the 3200m and also placed 2nd in the 800m. He also played a part in his team's 4x400m and 4x800 meter relays.
Speed winning the 2020 MAIS 5A State Title in XC
Speed has decided to take his versatile distance running talents to Mississippi College, located in Clinton, MS. Speed will join fellow Mississippi distance running recruit Christian Balcer. Speed will be looking to make an impact on their middle-distance squad, specializing in the 800m and 1500m, as well as playing a part on the cross country team. Speed will be joining a highly-ranked Division 2 middle distance squad, in which their 'top 5 average' in the 800m this upcoming year is a quick 1:53.6 - this includes incoming freshmen and transfers.
Speed was also accepted into the honors college because of his academic performances and will be awarded a scholarship that pays for his full tuition, room, and board. Once at Mississippi College in the Fall, Speed is planning on majoring in accounting.
Below, you can see a little bit on how Preston got to where he is today, and some advice he would like to give to young and up-and-coming athletes!
Explain your 'running journey'... (How did you get into running, how did your senior season go, and how did you get connected with the college that you are going to?)
I started running freshman year. My sister convinced me to give it a shot and gradually I began to enjoy it. My senior season went pretty well. Our cross country team won the state championship for the first time in a while, and I was able to win the individual title. Our track team placed second at our state championship and I PR'ed in just about every event during the season. I got connected with Mississippi College during cross country, and I ended up committing after the season.
What is your most memorable meet/race and why?
The state meet in 9th grade was very memorable. I felt like everything started clicking when I could see the outcome of hard work.
Out of all your high school achievements, which one means the most to you and why?
Winning the individual cross country title meant a lot to me. Since freshman year, I have always had my eye set on achieving that.
If you could go back and do it all over again, what would you change, if anything?
I wouldn't change anything.
Who is somebody that you look up to / someone that helped you along your journey to get you where you are today?
My coach, Daniel Burnett, has been someone who has consistently encouraged and pushed me to be a better athlete. He has played a central role in my improvement.
What will you miss the most?
I'm going to miss spending time with my team and coach.
What piece of advice would you give to the younger athletes that are just getting started on their journey?
I would say to younger athletes to find ways to have fun and enjoy the process. Running is a difficult sport but the more effort you put forth the more it's worthwhile