Salute to Seniors: Trevor Cislaw Q&A

Trevor Cislaw, left, said he will miss his teammates as he heads off to the University of Minnesota to study Sports Management. "These guys, despite being rambunctious at times, are guys that over the years I have considered to be like family to me," he writes below. (all photos courtesy of Trevor Cislaw)

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: Newport Harbor High School

Event: Distances

Q: What was your most memorable race/moment?

  • For me, my most memorable moment was my breakthrough race, which was the Dana Hills Invitational during my junior year. I didn't win, but I achieved my PR of 16:41 for 3 miles (which I know, is not great for a distance runner running in Division 2), and this gave me the confidence in myself that I needed to have what ultimately became my best season across both cross country and track and field during high school.

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

  • I would have to say my teammates. I was always in and around the varsity level on my team and I would always push myself to try and maintain pace with the guys I was competing against for those varsity spots. Every year, just when I thought that I had a varsity spot for the upcoming season, new contenders would rise and challenge me for my spot on varsity. The effort I gave to be on varsity during high school and compete in this inter-team competition for what was often those 5th, 6th, and 7th spots on the cross country team outweighs the results of my production, which I will explain below. Although, I will give credit to those guys on my team who I have competed against for these spots, as these guys have helped me become a better runner overall, on both the course and the track.

Q: What was your greatest accomplishment?

  • For me, it was racing at CIF prelims for cross country during my senior year. Now, this accomplishment is more of a personal goal I achieved based on the quality and performances of my team during high school. I have come to terms with the fact that accomplishments don't always have to be victories or honors given out by people toward others for their achievements. Rather, my definition of an accomplishment is something that I have set as a goal for myself to achieve and subsequently achieved over the course of the timespan I set for myself to achieve it, whether it's a week, a month, or even a season, as in this case. I had always missed out on racing during the postseason because of personal reasons during my sophomore and junior years. Finally, in my senior year, I was supposed to be an alternate for CIF prelims and then literally 30 minutes before my team is supposed to race, I hear from my coach that I am racing instead of one of my teammates who was unable to compete. So, I quickly get ready to race and over the course of that race, I race the best that I have ever raced. Inspired by the fact that this could have been my last cross country race, I moved up rapidly through the pack over the course of the last mile and a half of the race and displayed the best kick I have ever done. Although I didn't break 17 minutes, I still consider that the best performance of my high school career due to the circumstances I overcame to get where I was at and the fact that I wasn't in the mindset of racing that day at all an hour before that race.

Q: If you could do it all over again, what would you change about your running career in high school?

  • I honestly wouldn't change a thing about my high school running career because I'm satisfied with everything I have done over the past four years. Furthermore, I feel like under the circumstances I consistently had to overcome, I couldn't do much more to change the outcome that occurred over the course of the past four years. However, if there was one thing I would change, it would be having the ability to actually close out a race efficiently. I have had quite a few heartbreakers in high school, from nearly winning the JV race at the Riverside Showcase during my junior year and letting it slip away in the last 400 meters, to losing a JV league title that same season after losing the lead in the last half of the race, to getting outkicked in the last 100 meters of the JV mile at a dual meet against Marina during track my junior year. So, it's safe to say I know how to lose a race. Yet I feel like despite my inability to win a race, I probably would not want to change a thing about my high school running career.

Q: What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?

  • There were two things that were equally difficult to overcome. First of all, my running form is awful. If any of you are from the Southern Section and have seen that kid in the dark blue from Newport with the glasses and the really short strides, that's me. I tried to change my running form throughout the duration of high school because I figured out that my form was the biggest hindrance on me getting faster, thus causing my times to not be as low as I wanted them to be and causing me to peak during my junior year. Secondly, I was literally the most injury-prone person on my team. Out of the eight possible seasons between cross country and track and field, I was injured or sick for at least some portion of 6 of them. Freshman year cross country and sophomore year track and field are the two exceptions. Fittingly enough, I ended my high school running career the exact way I thought it would end: injured, with a sprained ankle and unable to compete as I cheered on my teammates from the sidelines.

Q: What will you miss the most?

  • I will miss my teammates the most for sure. These guys, despite being rambunctious at times, are guys that over the years I have considered to be like family to me and I am grateful that they have been apart of my life.

Q: What advice would you give to younger athletes?

  • Try to be a team player. Those that are often overconfident in their own personal goals and abilities can easily be left behind when their team pursues something like a league, section, or state title that everyone on that varsity team contributes to. Still have fun with running and being around your teammates, but try to bond with them, because you might be working with these teammates during races to score valuable team points. Running becomes more fun if you have friends to run with; this isn't a job (yet, for some). Also, try to become a positive influence within your team. That means other people on your team will respect you and the moral and confidence of your team will rise with more and more people on your team respecting you and your fellow teammates. Oh, and never lead the first mile at Mt. SAC. I tried that once; it didn't work out so well for me.

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

  • My coach, Coach Kay, has been one of, if not the most influential figures on my performance. I often go to him for advice and I always seek him out to see if I am running well enough to be on varsity. He gave me the confidence to go out there and race as hard as I can each and every week. He has been around cross country/track and field for a long time and the experience he has with running has been very crucial to my success. He is also one of the people that inspired me to be myself and has been a positive force in my life, and I can't thank him enough for that.

Q: What are your college plans?

  • I am attending the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis (Twin Cities) to study Sports Management. In terms of running during college, I am not going to compete for my university at the moment because my times are not fast enough but if the opportunity rises during college, I will consider doing so.

Q: Who would you like to say thank you to?

  • I would like so say thank you to my parents for their support of my ambitions to run during high school and support of Newport Harbor cross country and track and field. I would also like to thank the other coaches in the program for all of their hard work that they have dedicated to get us ready for whatever meets are on the schedule each and every week.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

  • I would like to wish luck to my teammates as they once again attempt to make it to state in cross country, and hopefully this time it will not be just Alexis Garcia representing us at state, like it has been the past two years. Go Sailors!