PREP SPOTLIGHT: Aaleyah Garris
By JORDAN ANDERS
The Daily Reflector
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Ayden-Grifton freshman track runner Aaleyah Garris is one of six Chargers who qualified for this week’s 2-A state track meet with a second-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles last weekend at the East Regionals. Garris chatted with Reflector prep sports beat writer Jordan Anders about excelling at the hurdle events and the excitement of going to states.
Q: How long have you been running track?
A: Since the seventh grade.
Q: What got you involved in it?
A: They needed people to run, so I just decided to try it.
Q: What is it about it that you enjoyed enough to stay involved?
A: I just liked running. It’s fun, and it’s good to try different things.
Q: What events do you compete in?
A: I do 300-meter hurdles, the 400-meter dash and I do the high jump.
Q: Which event is your favorite?
A: The 300 hurdles.
A: That’s my best event that I’m in, and it’s fun doing it. Plus, it has hurdles and I like doing those.
Q: You do a hurdle event, a distance and event and a jumping event. Does anything change about the way you mentally approach each one?
A: No. I just try my best to do the event the best way I can do it.
Q: Take me inside your head when you’re running an event like the 300 hurdles. Are you aware of where your opponents are or what position you’re in? Or are you just solely focused on trying to reach the finish line?
A: I just try and worry about myself, because I’m just trying to get my time down so I can PR (get a personal record) and do the best that I can do.
Q: Your finish last weekend qualified you for the state meet coming up Friday. How exciting was it realizing that you had accomplished that?
A: It was just amazing. It was one of my dreams that I’ve had to qualify for states. I believed that I was going to be able to do it, and it was a dream come true.
Q: You and the rest of the A-G girls finished second in the East Regional team standings, but now you all have turned your focus to states. What are you looking for Friday when you compete?
A: It’s going to be a lot of people there at states, and I’m just trying to get in the top 5. As a freshman, it’s just a big accomplishment to get to go.
Q: I know every athlete has their own way they get psyched up for their sport. Track involves a bit of waiting around, so I’m wondering what you do mentally to get yourself prepared when it’s time to compete at a meet.
A: I pray. I pray before I do my race and just focus on what I’m about to do and know that I can do it.
Q: We’ll wrap this up away from the track: What are people most likely to find you doing outside of school when you’re not competing?
A: I dance and I draw, and I like volunteering to help other people.
If you have a suggestion for a player to be featured in prep spotlight, contact Jordan Anders at firstname.lastname@example.org, 252-329-9594 or follow @ReflectorJordan on Twitter.