The Best Writing On MileSplit From 2017


USA


By Cory Mull

An athlete with a difficult past finds peace on the track, 200 meters at a time. 

Terrance Laird was taught from an early age not to fear what life brought him. He knew it was a symptom of weakness. And he knew strong men didn't let emotion control them. His father used to tell him there was nothing useful in doubt.  So from a young age, the teenager gave himself a daily reminder. Don't fear what can't hurt you.


Transgender Sprinter Unfazed By National Attention

By Storms Reback

A young athlete finds her way in life, on and off the track

Amadi Yearwood was one of the fastest boys on the track and field team at Cromwell Middle School in Cromwell, Connecticut, but the joy he got from sprinting was often overshadowed by feelings of confusion. 


A Team Without Borders

By Cory Mull

Exploring the bonds between a cross country team on the US-Mexico border and the town it's defined by

He achieves this sustained success despite a limited budget, second-hand resources, and declining facilities such as the track, which floods with any significant rainfall. And even through all of that, Eagle Pass is a complexity. The high school sits just two miles from the Rio Grande, the physical border between the United States and Mexico. Sometimes it doesn't just feel like two different countries, but two worlds apart.


From Refugee To Runner: The Story of Minnesota Teen Florance Uwajeneza

By Sarah Barker

A Congolese refugee looks back on the path that sent her to America, and how running has helped shape her experience

In her brief 18 years, Uwajeneza has been a refugee twice, fleeing violence in the Congo for a refugee camp in Rwanda when she was 5, and settling permanently in St. Paul when she was 14. On of her arrival in this country - August 1, 2013 - she didn't know a word of English, had never seen a refrigerator, had never used a smartphone. Yet within three weeks, she was navigating public transportation and her freshman year of high school-think: learning algebra in a foreign language-while also cooking, cleaning, and helping her family.


The Superstar You Never Saw Coming

By Cory Mull

An elite distance runner with a unique story makes a statement in his last high school season

But just watch the Lafayette High School senior run. You know how superheroes make simple feats look easy? Hindman, 18, makes training seem trivial. An average runner pounds the track. He bounces off it. His own coach, Sean O'Connor, has noted that when Hindman runs it looks like he's floating. During repeats, the coach will look down at his watch and simply not believe what he's seeing. 31 seconds for 200 meters again. Really?

Pennslyvania


Katie Jones Driven To New Heights In Final Season

By Dan Beck

Katie Jones didn't think her coach understood what she mouthed to him from the runway at The Armory. But Matt Concannon knew. I'm winning this.


New York


Ben Bulkeley's State Title Journey Included The System

By Mike Kiernan

Each season, Fairport (NY) High coach Sean Van Laeken has his athletes set goals for the upcoming season. He uses an ABC system, ranging from more attainable (C), to a goal that is really a challenge (B), to the "pie in the sky" goal, one that would be incredible for you to achieve (A). A "C" goal can be something like remaining injury free and staying healthy. And it's an idea Fairport junior Ben Bulkeley doesn't take for granted.


From Surgery To Dreamer: Kamryn McIntosh Hopes To Get Back On The Track 

By Cory Mull

Two months removed from heart surgery that may have saved her life, Kamryn McIntosh remains dedicated as ever to get back on the track. In particular, the Suffern (NY) High senior, who in 2015 set a national indoor record in the 600m that has since been broken, is eyeing up one last goal before she graduates. Competing again.


New Jersey


Sydney McLaughlin's Historic Rise In High School, A Year After Rio

By Robert Kellert

The greatest career in high school track and field history has come to a close. The Olympian Sydney McLaughlin, a two-time Gatorade National Athlete of the Year honoree, has completed her last high school event, graduated from Union Catholic Regional High, and is on her way to the University of Kentucky -- and beyond -- to continue doing great things.


Florida


Bolles Pays Homage To Golden Era Of 80s State Title Squads

By Todd Grasley

The '85 Bolles team was lead by current FBI Director Andrew McCabe who was exactly six seconds in front of Fannin. 32 years passed since that day. The program had some successful seasons in that time frame, but none that resulted in another ring and the top spot on the podium.


Texas


Carter Cheeseman To Compete At Foot Locker 35 Years After His Father Did

By William Grundy

A son follows in his father's footsteps three decades after his biggest high school success

Two weeks ago, led by mother-coach Cathy, Carter Cheeseman ran on the exact same course as his father did and successfully accomplished the exact same opportunity and will run this weekend at the Foot Locker Nationals.


From Spectator To State Champion In Just One Year

By William Grundy

The remarkable rise of Jarrett Kirk, who went from JV runner to state champion in Texas' big school classification

As with Jordan and Brady, not all success stories start out on high ground. Some athletes have to endure obstacles or work harder than others to get to the level they want to get to. Que in Jarrett Kirk.


North Carolina


Laderique McNeill Was In A Coma Last Spring, Now He's Contending For A State Title

By Jennie Hodge

"I went joy riding at 2 AM the day after a track meet," he said. "I do not remember everything that happened, but I remember seeing flashes of cars swerving and time stopping at the point of collision."


Massachusetts


Grace Connolly Is At The Top Of Her Game In Two Different States

By Stephen Mazzone

They are two elite high school athletes who live less than an hour away from each other and just happen to be the best in their respective states. There's Grace Connolly, a junior at Natick High in Massachusetts, and senior Grace Connolly of La Salle Academy in neighboring Rhode Island.


Illinois


Clayton Mendez's Breakthrough Came One Lap At A Time

By Tony Jones

Mendez clearly was on course to smash the meet record and establish himself as a premier runner this season. It was the fastest time that a kid from the Chicago Public League has ever run indoors or outside. 


California


Northern Coast California Cross Country Programs Trying To Rebuild After Tragic Fire

By Cory Mull

Carrie Joseph spent part of Tuesday looking outside a window in her home as a helicopter dropped water from a specialized bucket hanging from a cable on what remained of the North Coast wildfire on a nearby state park. She and her husband were lucky. 


Minnesota


How Two Sisters From Minnesota Overcame Hardship Through Running

By Declan Dahlberg

Erin and Ellie have taught me that running is not something you do for other people. They have taught me that running is a gift and a privilege, and through every challenge that they have faced they have kept their heads up and worked to be the best that they can be.

Indiana


Matt Cooper's Undefeated Spirit Beat Leukemia Diagnosis

By Cory Mull

The wait is over. Matt Cooper is ready to step on the track and accomplish what's been on his mind since last year, when his life changed and his career was put on halt. Some would say what happened to the Carmel High (IN) senior was remarkably undeserving, especially for someone so positive and encouraging. He would argue it's been for the better. He would say it's taught him about himself. He would confirm it's the path that's been chosen for him, that he's overcome the mountain, that he's ready to fly downhill. Consider what the 18-year-old has been through.

Maryland


How Bullis, A Small Private School In Maryland, Became A National Powerhouse

By Johanna Gretschel

In the past two weekends, the Bulldogs have swept the boys and girls sprint relay titles at the prestigious 110th annual NYRR Millrose Games in New York, and the Kentucky High School Invitational in Lexington. The girls rank U.S. No. 1 in the 4x400m, No. 2 in the 4x200m, and the boys rank U.S. No. 1 in the 4x200m, No. 4 in the 4x400m. Lee, who worked for 16 years as a youth pastor and still speaks in the charismatic, authoritative manner of someone preaching to a rapt audience, has no patience for sloth or apathy in any aspect of life, and certainly not in track and field.


Behind Alonzo Ruffin, St. John's College Girls Are Breaking Through Nationally

By Cory Mull

Since taking over the girls and boys track and field program at Chevy Chase St. John's College High (DC) six years ago, Alonzo Ruffin has always operated under one guiding force. Get outside your comfort zone. It's as much a principle for him as it is for his athletes. The Cadets don't even have a track at their school, which is located just 5 miles from the White House. But Ruffin also lives by that rule for a reason. As a coach, he's only as good as his experiences have taught him. And for his athletes, they're only as good as the competition they see.


Iowa


Running Toward The Corner Of Faith And Family

By Cory Mull

While one sister tries to beat an unexpected diagnosis, the other isn't far behind, as always

The 18-year-old, who still holds hopes of qualifying for Foot Locker Nationals in November, had been diagnosed with Hashimoto Thyroiditis, an autoimmune disorder that led to chronic inflammation of the thyroid and produced droughts of fatigue, ultimately leading to declines in running.


South Carolina


Pole Vault Champ Makes The Most Of Solo Act

By Bob Castello

Vaquan Wilder had been feeling the heat all week, and it didn't get any easier when Saturday rolled around, when it was time for the Class A state track and field meet at Spring Valley High School. Strangely, Wilder, a junior at Scott's Branch High School, didn't have to worry about whether anyone else would perform better than him in the pole vault competition. That wasn't his concern. "I was my competition," he said. Wilder was the only one entered.


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