Riverdale senior Eli Cramer is up next in our Class of 2020 Salute to Seniors series.
He'll continue his running career at Milligan College after he graduates.
In his submission he discussed overcoming obstacles, his biggest competition and of course gave a shoutout to his hometown in Rutherford County.
Check out his submission, and click here to learn about how you can get involved yourself.
What made you get into track and field in the first place and what does this sport mean to you?
I had played baseball my entire life but I finally got into track in field in 8th grade. My PE teacher, Sarah Bransford, who was also the cross country coach at the time, had seen me do the pacer test and convinced me to quit the baseball team and start running. This sport means so much to me honestly. I've made so many friends and memories because of this sport. It's allowed me to push my body to the limit and I've enjoyed every bit of it.
What was your most memorable race/competition?
My most memorable race was definitely Foot Locker South this past cross country season. I travelled to that race with two of my good friends, Dawson Reed and Canaan Anderson, and was finally able to break 16. Had an awesome time hanging out with them and it was even cooler seeing Canaan qualify for nationals.
Where did you face your biggest competition?
In my opinion, I faced my biggest competition at outdoor state last year in the 2 mile. That race was freaking loaded with great runners and I came in to the race seeded second to last. I somehow managed to come away with a podium finish, which was pretty cool.
Out of all of your high school accomplishments, which stands out the most?
I think my proudest accomplishment was making the podium at outdoor state last year and indoor state this year. I came in kind of under the radar at both races and was able to surprise myself, and maybe others, both times.
If you could do it all over again, what would you change about your athletic career in high school?
This is a super cliche answer, but honestly I wouldn't change a thing. I had some highs and lows but everything happens for a reason. I'm the person I am today because of how things have played out, and I'm pretty content with that.
What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
The most difficult obstacle that I had to overcome came during my sophomore track season. I was diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter's disease in January of 2018 and couldn't run for 5 months. I couldn't even run a mile my first day back, and I basically had to start from scratch. That was rough, but looking back on it, I'm glad that I happened, as I was able to learn and grow from it.
What will you miss the most?
I'm going to miss all my teammates and my coaches. I don't know where I'd be without them. They've made me into the runner I am today and I'm going to miss suffering every day with them.
Do you have any advice for younger athletes?
The biggest piece of advice I have for younger runners is to enjoy the process. Progress isn't linear, and this sport is frustrating at times, but the number one thing you can do is keep your head down and keep working. Wish I knew that when I was an eager, puny freshman.
How have your coaches influenced your performances and your life goals overall?
My coaches have definitely helped me out in a big way. They've helped me hit times that I never thought I would hit, and they've also become really good friends of mine in the process. They've done so much for me and I'm so lucky to have had them by my side the past 4 years.
What are your post-high school plans?
I will be attending Milligan College, where I will be majoring in business and running cross country and track. I have no clue what the heck will happen after my time there is up, but you know what, we'll roll with the punches. Go Buffs baby!
Shout out to the RUCO Gang. If you know, you know.