State Champion Spotlight: Kaylee Porter (Erskine Academy)
What were your preparations leading up to the state meet?
My preparations include many things, but the most important one would be Visualization. Every night leading up to the event in my head I visualize how the race will go, and what I want to accomplish. It allows me to virtually walk through the race and plan out my strategy. It's also helpful to plan a strategy instead of going into a race without a plan.
You missed the indoor season a year ago so didn't have a chance to compete for a state title, what did you do differently this winter to stay healthy?
This winter I decided to do Indoor because I knew it would help prepare me for outdoor. Although I really wanted to do indoor last year, I got injured in soccer and ended up lacerating my liver. After awhile with no workouts ( not being able to .) I knew that when outdoor came I needed to work extra hard to get myself back to where I used to be. I ended up training so hard that I found out Track was my sport. I had the knack of running since I was a little kid. I used to run around the stairs in my house and make my babysitters want to quit. Last year, I made the hard decision to choose between soccer and track. I knew that I had potential in track, and that I loved running. That is why I decided to try cross country this year. Cross country was definitely a challenge for a mid distance runner.. lol.. but it allowed me to further develop my passion as a runner. It drove me to focus mentally longer during races, go for longer runs, and even push myself to the limits. I am a very competitive person, so cross country was an interesting sport. I also decided to do cross country since I am running in college and I didn't want to get injured playing soccer anymore. It was a decision that took a week to think through, then I ended doing my NPL travel soccer team and the Erskine team as well.
You've won two outdoor 800m state titles, how does winning the indoor title compare?
As any state championship, running in it is an accomplishment in itself. From the two I have won in outdoor, I have learned that winning is not easy. Once a person wins multiple state championships they have a "reputation" that they need to upkeep. Even though I won States for indoor, I know that outdoor is coming up and I need to be training harder than ever. There's no off season for track. It was extraordinarily nice to win the indoor 800m because it showed me that all the hard work I put in paid off.
You won the 800m by 9 seconds, were you surprised at your margin of victory? How were you able to push yourself to such a fast time alone?
I won the 800m by 9 seconds because I knew how to strategically "play the game." It's hard to keep a pace when you're on your own, but if you pay attention and sing songs in your head during the race to pace yourself it makes it a lot easier. I find songs that are 180 bpm to remind myself how my pace should be during the race. I was able to push myself because I knew how bad I wanted it.
Coming into the season what were your goals and did you achieve them?
On the first day of indoor track I made myself 3 goals: Break the Erskine records, win states, and return to New England's. I accomplished all three of my goals and everything else was just icing on the cake.
What have your coaches meant to your success?
My coaches mean the world to me. They push me to work hard and really become the athlete I am today. I have had many coaches in my highs chool track career( Rollins, Currier, Michaud, Malley, and Hughes ) and they all taught me to be a leader and to never give up. I admire all my coaches both for their position and for their personalities. Like other coaches, they aren't afraid to push you, but they each have their own style. Words cannot express how much I appreciate all of my coaches and what they have done for me, but I thoroughly recognize and appreciate them.