AZ Salute to Seniors | Jariel Sebastian

Name: School: Highland High School
Your name: Jariel Sebastian

Q: What does your training look like right now given the current situation?
A: Training has been kind of rough considering my mom won't let me outside haha but I've been running on the treadmill and for workouts running in my backyard. I am trying to keep my motivation the best I can, I have just kept imagining that everything will be fine and all will work out in the end.

Q: What are you doing to stay busy other than run right now?
A: I've been watching a lot of anime, if I'm being completely honest, mostly reruns of one punch man and attempting to do the one punch man workout. That consists of 100 pushups, 100 situps, 100 squats, 10 km run. Those push-ups are killer. Also, I've been catching up with old friends and reconnecting with them.

Q: What was your most memorable race/moment?
A: My freshman year my coach decided that I and a senior, Dana Sullivan, would have a race in the 800 at the Desert Vista Last Chance meet to see who could have the final 4×8 spot at state. At the time my sister was a senior and she was part of that 4×8 team. To me, this was everything, as it meant the last time I got to compete with my sister. The gun goes off and all I could think about was beating Dana. We were side by side the whole race up until the last 100 meters. I gained on her and was ahead of her by a little bit, then Dana caught up. We were at the last 50 meters and she gave me a look, at that moment time froze and I hesitated, I thought in my head "how could a freshman beat a senior, is that even possible?" and felt myself loose speed. She just barely beat me and stepped on the line right before I did. She won because of my moment of hesitation but that night I found out that was the best she ran her 800 her whole high school career. I pushed her to do that. But I was also so disappointed that I let myself get beat because I was intimidated. From that moment forward, I promised myself to never be intimidated by anyone regardless of who they are. In some ways, I am glad that it happened, even if I had to learn it the hard way it made me stronger as a runner and as a person.

Watch the Girls' 800-meter race at The Desert Vista Last Chance Meet (2017)

Q: What was the funniest thing that happened during your running career?
A: It was a very cloudy day and the day before it rained a whole lot, everything was muddy. Coach told us we could go on a long run so all the girls decided to go together while the guys wanted to go a separate way. We stopped at a park while others caught up. I walked into a field and noticed it was all flooded and muddy yet there were sprinklers still going off. I called over some of the girls but they didn't want to go in. Marina Dear didn't care and we had a mud fight and wrestled know the muddy grass. After we attempted to clean off in the sprinklers to finish off our run. Half the girls decided to go back but the other half continued. We ran a little farther before we saw a small canal. The water was clear and the current was moving it pretty fast. The idea of boats came into the conversation and I got in and laid down in the canal like a boat. The water carried me down the canal as the other girls watched and laughed. Someone was saying that was nasty but then the rest of the girls eventually joined in. We all floated down the small canal-like little boats, eventually, the canal came to a part where the water was overflowing and started smelling so we decided to get out and continue the rest of the run. We laughed and joked the rest of the way then it began to rain. We got back to school and danced in the rain. This was by far my favorite memory. It was this or at camp when the guys reenacted spider man with Toby Maguire.

Q: Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?
A: My biggest competition over these years was probably me. It was always a mental battle. I would often compare myself to everyone else and talked down on myself for never being good enough. A wise man once said "comparison is the thief of joy" and I never really understood what he meant until this year. Every day it is a decision to be positive and feed your brain positive energy. I know the competition isn't even close to over but every day the gap gets smaller because I believe in myself more. Probably not the answer you were looking for but if you wanted someone's name then I mean I guess Caroline McLeskey is pretty speedy.

Q: What was your greatest accomplishment?
A: My greatest accomplishment was being able to help my friends push beyond what they thought they could do. Just being alongside them as they improved. That's something you cant witness every day.

Q: If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running career in high school?
A: I would change how I would tell myself that there was always next year, I used that as an excuse to hold myself back. As I started my senior year I released there is no more next year there is only a now and what I do with it.

Q: What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
A: The most difficult obstacle for me would probably be when I transferred from Gilbert Christian to Highland. For all sports, I had to sit out for half the season which was a huge bummer. I was told junior year would be a hard year...ya no kidding. Watching people do the sports I love and I can't compete, that made my heart sad. I'd have to go to practice to work hard and not be able to show how much I improved, but I knew, in the end, it would pay off. Thank goodness I waited it out and didn't give in.

Q: What will you miss the most?
A: I'll miss training with my friends every day, being able to push myself with them and smiling through the pain. I'll miss laughing with them about my lungs dying after a hard workout, I'll miss all the hugs I shared with each and every one of them. I'll especially miss the love I felt every single day when I walked into practice.

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