Our "Salute to Seniors" series continues with Fred J. Page graduate Gigi Maddox.
Maddox finished her high school career in style, winning a state championship in the 3200 meter run. But that wasn't her final act. She also broke the Tennessee State Record in the 2k Steeplechase last month at the 16th Annual Music City Distance Carnival.
Next year, she'll be beginning her running career with Auburn University.
Winning state in the 3200m this past track season. I've been successful at state in the past, but winning was something I wanted to do for a long time and it meant a lot.
Where did you face your biggest competition?
I've raced with many talented runners over the years, but I think that Footlocker cross-country regionals had many great runners that had similar PR's to mine. So, I was able to race with girls that pushed me to run a new PR.
Out of all of your high school accomplishments, which stands out the most?
Signing with Auburn University. I grew up an Auburn fan because my parents both went there, so I've always wanted to attend Auburn. Signing with them was a dream come true, and I can't wait to run cross-country there in the fall.
If you could do it all over again, what would you change about your athletic career in high school?
I would run cross-country my freshman year. In addition to running cross-country and track, I also played varsity soccer for my high school all four years, which was in the same season as cross-country. The school's cross-country coach would not let me run freshman year because I was also playing soccer.. II think missing missing that year year hurt my times later on.
What were the biggest obstacles you had to overcome?
Playing soccer for my school during cross-country season. I went to soccer practice every day, and then I would do my cross-country workouts after soccer was finished. I was often very tired while doing the workouts, so I had to work hard mentally and physically to get the most out of every minute of running each day.
What will you miss the most?
Having my dad as my coach. During the fall, I had a crazy schedule because of soccer, so he coached me instead of the school's cross-country coach. In addition, he was the head track coach. So, he was with me all year long, encouraging me and pushing me to work harder than I thought I could. I'll miss all the talks we had about workouts and races, and I'll miss him being at every practice and race, cheering me on.
Do you have any advice for younger athletes?
Take what you are doing seriously, but also enjoy it. You will never get better if you don't stay focused during workouts or if you slack off. But, high school is four years that you will never get back. Enjoy the time you have with your teammates and the fun experiences that being a student athlete has to offer.
How have your coaches influenced your performances and your life goals overall?
As I said, my dad was my coach. Over the years, he helped me see my potential as an athlete. He helped me realize that I had the potential to compete at the collegiate level. He also pushed me really hard to get me to where I want to be. Because we were close, I think he was able to see where I had more to give when another coach wouldn't be able to see that. His "tough love" was exactly what I needed to get to where I am today.
What are you post high school plans?
I am headed to Auburn University, where I will run track and cross-country. I am majoring in finance and minoring in Spanish, but my ultimate goal is to get a masters is missiology. I want to go into missions, either here or abroad. God has given me the ability to run, and I want to tell others about His love for them, how He has gifted everyone with unique talents, and how they can be most fulfilled by using their talents for God.
My mom! I don't know if she ever missed a single race (or soccer game). She was always there, cheering me on in the stands. She supported me in any way that she could, whether that meant driving an hour after work to watch me race in the freezing cold or running a mile to get some pickle juice when I had a cramp. She is amazing and I don't know what I'm going to do without her at every race next year.