Meghan Underwood has been an elite mid-distance specialist in Tennessee for years.
The Briarcrest graduate has won multiple state championships for the Saints, and has placed among some of the top distance runners at any classification for many years.
She's our next athlete to be featured in this year's "salute to seniors" series.
My very first race in 4th grade. I had cheese pizza maybe 30 minutes before, walked about 3/4 of the one mile race, and came in dead last. I swore off running for good which, luckily, only lasted for all of a few months.
Where did you face your biggest competition?
This may not be what you're asking but the honest answer is inside of me. I struggled with pre-race anxiety and negative thinking all throughout my high school career and it made most every race and hard workout a huge competition against the clock. It took until about halfway through my senior outdoor season to realize I was my biggest competitor, learn to relax and enjoy racing for once. Beating myself was the toughest competition I ever overcame.
Out of all of your high school accomplishments, which stands out the most?
On the track: hitting my 800m pr at the Vandy invitational in 2016. Off the track: planking for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
If you could do it all over again, what would you change about your athletic career in high school?
I would have put more consideration into the athletic program of the high schools I was considering and transferred during my freshman year rather than sophomore year so as to save a year of eligibility for when I was older and stronger.
What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
The most difficult obstacle was definitely transferring schools to run with a more knowledgable coaching staff and competitive program. My decision forced me to evaluate how important running is to me and led me to make a few tough sacrifices. It was worth it in the long run, however, because those sacrifices only became greater motivation to train and compete the best of my ability.
Fun Friday's. Oh and all the team camaraderie, friendships, and coaching staff stuff too. But mostly Fun Friday's.
Do you have any advice for younger athletes?
Hydrate, do warm-ups and cool-downs like your career depends on it (because it does), and don't let race-anxiety get in your way of becoming the best runner you can be.
How have your coaches influenced your performances and your life goals overall?
Coach Ted, I could write a novel on the hundreds of running and life lessons you have taught me over the years, but I don't want to cry that much. You were there for every win or loss, good or bad day and you helped me learn and grow through all of it. You trained me to all of my pr's and season bests and kept me fighting when I didn't get them. You have taught me the values of determination, humility, leadership and so many others that I plan to take with me as I continue my running career to the collegiate level (a goal I could never have achieved without you).
What are your post-high school plans?
My plans right now are to run for the Arkansas track team, major in kinesiology on a pre-med track, and hopefully have enough time for a couple naps in-between.