Salute to Seniors: Henry Griffin

Salute to Seniors

Mt Juliet High School senior Henry Griffin is next up in our Salute to Seniors spotlight.

He'll continue his career at UT-Martin next fall.

Make sure to check out all of our Class of 2020 spotlights as we honor this group of seniors.

And head here to learn how you can send your own submission to get featured on the site.

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What made you get into track and field in the first place and what does this sport mean to you?

"I originally got into track and field because I missed the one mandatory meeting for the football team back in 6th grade. By missing that I still wanted to be apart of a team, so I then went out for cross country. From there I never backed away from the sport and track and field specifically became my home. The sport to me shows what it means to be a devoted athlete."

What was your most memorable race/competition?

"My most memorable race has to be from my junior year. It was at the Volunteer Classic in Knoxville and I was seeded 6th I think. It was cold and spitting rain, and I remember I was the only one wearing compression leggings and a long sleeve shirt. Everyone else was in the tank top and distance shorts. Miguel Parrilla, a really good friend of mine, was heavily favored to win it. When it came down to the last 300m Gabe Robinson and myself made our move and surged past Miguel. We were the only 2 runners to go sub 2 in that race and I got an underdog podium finish."

Where did you face your biggest competition?

"My biggest competition faced me almost every day. On our team we have our 'top 3' male runners. We've all ran together from middle school all the way up to now. That being the case, we've trained the exact same for years. Going back and forth from practice to practice with the guys who have gone through everything that I've gone through created a huge competition amongst us. Having that made me enjoy all of the tiresome hours on the track competing with them."

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

"The first time I ever went sub 2 minutes in the 800 stands out to me the most. I did it during my first indoor season, and I was working with a former national leader in the 800m as my trainer. To say we worked speed work until I got that time is an understatement. We worked out at another school, after dark, in December and January, about 4 days a week. That has to be the hardest I've pushed myself consecutively overall. Sub 2 in the 800m before regular season started was the goal, and there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to get it."

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

"I would have pushed to do the decathlon more than once in my high school career. Track and field has always been about having fun for me, and I got to go do the decathlon once my sophomore year. Doing that many events, and really testing my limits made me love it and have a huge respect for all sides of track and field. If I could have focused more on the decathlon, I feel as if I would have found a few events that I never knew I was good at."

What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?

"The most difficult obstacle that I had to overcome was trying to please everyone. As thankful as I am for all of the advice from those who gave it to me, sometimes it was overwhelming. I had to learn that at the end of the day, I just had to go run my race. I couldn't run the way everyone with a different opinion wanted me to run, so I took it upon myself to be respectful and listen to everyone's advice while also having my own plan."

What will you miss the most?

"Easily my middle distance coach. Coach Armstrong has shown me how be a great runner, as well as a great person and leader. He has always brought happiness to my teammates and myself and I plan on keeping him updated on my collegiate career as well as seeking his advice for things in the future."

Do you have any advice for younger athletes?

"If you focus too much on the future, you'll run away from the present. Focus on living the happiest life you can right now, and a great future will come to you."

How have your coaches influenced your performances and your life goals overall?

"All of my coaches have helped me along the way. There's way to many to name specifically how they've helped me, but without my coaches through the years I wouldn't be who I am today. They've all had a part in teaching me leadership, responsibility, how to have fun, and how to navigate through life. They've helped me realize the type of person I am, and they've pushed me through times where I wasn't sure of anything. My coaches mean more to me than I can explain, and I think that's the perfect way to describe how they've influenced me."

What are your post-high school plans?

"I am committed to run Division 1 Track and Field at the University of Tennessee at Martin. There I will be studying civil engineering where I hope to one day work in a high lever of commercial construction.

Any shoutouts?

"It feels weird using the word shoutout to praise God, but that's the most important one to me. I'd also like to thank my family for supporting me through all the years. My friends as well as other student athletes who have all kept up with me and checked in on me in times of uncertainty. Here's where I get into specific names, Julia Karsten for being my best friend since my 6th grade year, Tyler Stewert and Aaron Isbell, Sydney Jaynes, and Lindsay Armstrong. The long list of coaches: Bobby Pruitte, Jay Armstrong, David Glasscock, Coach Shaq, Alexander Bohannan, Susan Russ, Greg Shea, Bill Johnson, Blake Shaw, Coach Sharpe, Coach Lunn, Coach Williams, and Coach Kemp. I'm thankful for each and every one of you, and you've helped me greatly throughout all of these years."

Telling the stories of track and field seniors in the state of Tennessee as they say goodbye to teammates, coaches and high school competition.