Haley Herberg on Signing Day!! Oklahoma Sooners! (Photo courtesy of Haley Herberg)
MileSplitCA offered seniors a platform to share their stories and experiences either in Q&A format or story form. This is one in that series. Click here for details on how to share your story.
School: Capistrano Valley High School
Q: What was your most memorable race/moment?
- My most memorable race was definitely winning the cross country state meet my senior year. Looking back, I think I experienced "flow." I felt unstoppable. It was as if all my races, good and bad, had led up to that race and my senior season as a whole. A state title was my ultimate goal. I will always be grateful for that day and that feeling.
Q: Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?
- Overall my biggest competitor was definitely Mariah Castillo from Saugus. Being in the same division and section, we have been racing each other since our teams battled in cross country freshman year. I even remember her being a standout in the club track days, when she was an Equalizer and I was a Wildcat. Up until this year we have gone back and forth, and I am very grateful to have had such a good competitor because she pushed me to some of my personal best performances.
- I also want to note that for two years I raced Tesoro's Amanda Gehrich in league meets and she definitely inspired me!
Q: What was your greatest accomplishment?
- I am most proud that every season I learned from my experiences and was able to keep improving as a competitor. Even when it was difficult, I was able to fight until the end and finish my last season on a high note.
Q: If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running career in high school?
- All in all, there is not much I would change. I think I would remind myself more often to enjoy the process and have fun, in training and racing.
Q: What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
- Thankfully I have not faced major injuries. Throughout this year I had to learn how to stay focused on my own training, schoolwork, and recruiting trips while helping support my mom as she faced her own major health challenge.
Q: What will you miss the most?
- I will miss my team, our traditions, and all the pretty, hilly runs around Capo.
Q: What advice would you give to younger athletes?
- Run every day during the summer even when you don't have practice. Try to keep up with teammates who are faster than you. If you're one of the fastest on your team, encourage other runners to keep up with you. Get lots of sleep, hydrate, and always eat breakfast! Set high goals and write them down or tell someone! Believe in yourself.
Q: What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?
- My coach, Ken Sayles, has taught me to have a championship mindset. He always believed in me. In addition to the many hours he has spent coaching me, I have enjoyed learning many other life lessons from him as he is an avid outdoorsman, musician, and scholar. Above all, he has always encouraged us to not only be athletes but maintain balance in all other aspects of our lives.
Q: What are your college plans?
- I am going to the University of Oklahoma and majoring in environmental engineering. I will be on the cross country and track team there. I can't wait to be a part of that team!
Q: Who would you like to say thank you to?
- Thank you to my parents for helping me so that I could have success in my sport, and for being proud of me after every race, even when I was unhappy. Thank you to my coach and teammates/Capo running family for making it a great four years.
Q: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
- I learned this in youth track, and it still holds true: It's about the journey, not the destination.
Seniors, share your story with MileSplitCA. Here's how.