Year In Review: Dear Running, Dear Younger Me

Solomon Strader (left), Matt Strangio and Mia Barnett are among California track and field and cross country athletes who contributed essays to MileSplit in 2020. (Photos: Frank Bellino, James Leash, DeAnna Turner)

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MileSplit editors at both the state and national levels are forever humbled and amazed at the brilliance of the athletes we are so very privileged to cover. We encourage athletes, current or former, to contribute to our Dear Running and Dear Young Me series of essays. Below is a sample of the best of those contributed articles from 2020. 

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Abel Teffra: This Sport Has Allowed Me To Pursue My Dream -- Central (CS) High grad now at Georgetown and CIF-State XC medalist, explains how he developed a love for the sport.

Annabelle Tiller: You Truly Get What You Put In -- San Marcos (SS) High senior, Cal commit, and long hurdler, shares her passion for this sport.

Eleanor Wikstorm: You've Taught Me To Dream -- Skyline High grad now at Harvard, CIF-Oakland Section distance record-holder, and CIF-State Scholar Athlete of the Year recipient, shares the impact running has had on her life.

Kaelyn McCann: We Do This Because We Dare To Dream -- CIF-Southern Section pole vault champion from Linfield Christian now at Samford University, journeys back into where track and field all started for her.

Matt Strangio: Time to Buckle Down and Believe -- Jesuit senior and four-time CIF-State champion in XC and TF no at University of Portland, vows that he will continue to ask the very best of himself over this stretch of uncertainty.

Mia Barnett: You Convince Me To Always Come Back For More -- Senior at Crescenta Valley (SS) High headed to Virginia, four-time CIF-State Meet medalist in XC and TF, is thankful for giving running a chance.

Solomon Strader: Hope Will Always Prevail -- West Ranch (SS) High grad now at Miami, and a two-time CIF-State 400m medalist, writes candidly about the challenges this season posed, and about the hope that drives him forward.

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Michael Granville: See The Beauty In People, Act As If That's All You See -- The all-time national high school leader in the 800m writes a letter to his younger self.

Kaitlyn Merritt: I'm Proud Of You -- Two-time CIF-State pole vault champion and NCAA Championships qualifier while at Stanford, digs deep and explores the hardest moments of her track and field career.

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For whatever your passion, be it running, jumping, throwing, hurdling, et cetera, if you are a track and field and/or cross country athlete or coach interested in contributing to this series, please send an email to