Kendall Hayes of Lexington Christian Senior Sendoff

Kendall Hayes

Lexington Christian

What was your most memorable meet and why? 

There are two that have equal importance.  First was when I won the Woodford County Invitational as an 11-year old 7th grader in a driving rain storm.  It was my first varsity invitational win and was on my home course in my home meet. No one thought I had a chance to win and it felt really special to do so.  My other special memory was this year's KHSAA Class A State Meet. All season my personal goal was to help bring along our four 7th grade girls who we asked to run varsity.  Remembering what it was like to run as a 7th grader up on varsity, I was able to help their confidence and belief in themselves, not to feel any pressure.  At the end of the day, we were all on the podium as State Team Runner-Ups and the pride they felt in being such an important part of that finish will live with me always.

Where did you face your biggest competition? 

I have run is several high profile meets which were all highly competitive with top runners from Kentucky and surrounding states.  If I had I pick one meet it would be my Sophomore year racing a night race in West Virginia.  We had never seen the course, it was only my second night cross country race, and the top runners from WV were there competing on their state meet course.  It was the first meet that I had really had no knowledge of who I was racing or how to run the course.  Coach Tom's training prepared us for all conditions and that night I was able to win the race.

Out of all of your high school accomplishments which stands out the most and why?

Being part of 5 Regional Championship and 3 State Meet podium finishing teams.  Even though I won a Regional championship and had several individual state meet podium finishes, the joy of standing arm in arm with my teammates as we posed for pictures with OUR team trophy is something that cannot be topped. 

If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running career in high school?

To believe more in myself.  After I went through my growth spurt, I had to relearn to run up hills.  I let it get me down that I could not run races like I had always done before.  

What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome? 

Growing taller.  It sounds funny to say that I had to relearn how to run hills but it is a real thing.  It also changed how I approached a race as well.

What will you miss the most? 

The race day friendships not only within my own team, but those I have made with the other girls who run cross country throughout Kentucky.  Training with my teammates and coaches.  Never a dull moment.

Do you have any advice for younger athletes? 

Do not take anything for granted.  Just because you are successful today, there is no guarantee that you will be successful tomorrow.  Appreciate the moment of personal and team success as things may change and you may never experience that type of moment again.

What are your post-high school or college plans? 

I have been lucky enough to sign with Morehead State University to run both Cross Country and Track & Field for them. I hope to use my education gained there to become an elementary school teacher and coach.

Who would you like to say thank you to? 

First Coach Phil and Coach Brooke at Woodford County where I began my running journey.  I started as a wide-eyed 5th Grader not knowing anything about cross country.  Their belief in my running abilities kept me going, building my confidence to be the best I could.  Coach Tom (Coach Brooke's husband) at LCA who has been with me from the beginning.  When I transferred to LCA during the middle of 8th grade, it was his familiar voice and coaching that kept me going then and through the times I lost all belief in myself.  He never lost faith in my ability.  My mom and dad.  They were at every meet, every practice. Heat, rain, snow, sleet, cold - it did not matter.  If I did not want to go run, guess what, I did.  They always told me that the hard work put into practicing when I did not want to, or in bad weather, would pay off come race day.  They were right.  Lastly, my brother Connor.  We fight like dogs but, I could not ask for a better training partner and race buddy than him.  We would keep each other honest on our weekend and summer runs, explore new routes to run to keep things fresh and cheer for each other in races.  It will be strange after 8 years not to have him around next year to run with on a daily basis.