Salute to Seniors: Mia Taranko

Name: Mia Taranko

School: Thornton Academy

What was your most memorable race/meet?

The 2018 York County Regional Meet at Massabesic - I had my best long jump performance at this meet, and my teammates and I earned a PR in the 4x100m relay.

Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?

Emma White - we've been competitors and friends since youth summer track and will continue to compete against one another in the America East conference next year.

What was your greatest accomplishment?

Jumping over 18 feet.

If you could do it all over again what would you change about your xc/track&field career in high school?

I don't have any regrets about my high school career. I met and competed with so many great athletes over the course of the four years and I enjoyed every moment of it - both the highs and the lows.

What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?

Before my sophomore indoor season, I had a significant ankle injury that prevented my off-season training, as well as training with my team in the first few weeks of the season. The injury took a toll on my ability to keep my "head in the game" per say, and I had to actively remind myself that athletes face and overcome obstacles in order to better themselves.

What will you miss the most?

My favorite part of high school was getting to know my competitors beyond our time spent on the track. I will miss the friendships I've created and being surrounded by friendly faces at track meets.

What advice would you give to younger athletes?

Peaks and dips in performance are inevitable in track, but how you deal with the dips is what others notice about you. Be known for perseverance, not giving up.

What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?

Coach Defo helped me work on my individual goals, while also giving me the tools I needed as a leader to help my team reach our collective goals. Though he was only my coach for a season, he allowed my teammates and I to recognize that beyond great performances on the track, the sport allows for many other opportunities to better ourselves as people more so than just as athletes. Coach Defo is very competitive, but he knows the individual comes first, and that is what I most appreciated about my time with him. Also, my jumps coach, Carl, created a lasting impact on my track career thus far. Coach Carl was with me celebrating each high and walking me through each low I experienced during my four years at TA. We created a connection so great that we knew what each other was thinking often with regards to my jumping. With so few meets each season to make adjustments we had to work efficiently to make improvements to my performance. Without Carl, my high school career would have looked a lot different. I am forever grateful for all he taught me.

How do you feel about missing your senior season due to the coronavirus?

Of course, I am disappointed, but I am grateful that I have four more years to run at UNH.

What are your college plans?

I will attend the University of New Hampshire to study Health Management and Policy and run track.

Who would you like to say thank you to?

I would like to thank my teammate and co-captain Jaigan Boudreau. Her friendship and leadership helped me to truly enjoy and make the most of my senior indoor season.

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