Gennifer Hirata's Senior Salute

Questions 1: What was your greatest moment while competing in high school? 
Winning the Texas Relays and vaulting 14' with the best competition in the country was the absolute highlight of my high school career. My family is from Austin and they were all there to share my experience. Winning the Penn Relays and setting a new meet record was a close second.

Question 2: What is your biggest regret (related to T&F in high school) or what would you have done differently and why?
My biggest regret was not starting earlier. Vaulters nowadays are starting in middle school and vaulting a lot higher in high school. I also wish I would've trained other events.

Question 3: What will you miss the most about HS T&F/XC?
I'm really going to miss my coach both in high school and club. They are my family. We have been through so much together, highs and lows, and I will always wish them the very best. 

Question 4: What is some advice from incoming frosh and rising seniors on your high school team that you would like to share with them?
Don't quit when it gets tough and hold your head high when you don't perform like you want to. There's a lesson to be learned every meet and it is what make you a true champion.

Question 5: What was the hardest workout you did your entire high school career? Did you like it or did you dread it?
The hardest day was my very first track and field practice. I was in no shape to run hills for an hour followed by 200 meter repeats. I literally rolled into the backseat of my mom's car and told her I was dying. Going back the next day was tough but it got easier every day.

Question 6: How did you make track/XC a very individual sport into more of a team sport?
My team did a lot of out of school bonding. We went to the movies, played putt-putt golf and swam through out the summer. We are family and we're always there to cheer each other on.

Question 7: Finally, what are your college plans? Will you be competing in college, where? What do you plan on studying? What do you have as career plans?
I'm heading the the University of South Dakota to train with Derek Miles, a three-time Olympian in the pole vault. I cannot wait to be a part of the USD track team and I'm double-majoring in Chemistry and Criminal Justice. My dream is to pole vault on a professional level and become an environmental activist.