Name: Grace Gulig
School: Palmer Ridge High School
Q) What was your most memorable race/throw/jump/vault/moment?
My most memorable race was the rock the boat 4x4 at Stutler my sophomore year. It was my first 4x4 under the lights, and the energy of that race was something I had never experienced in a race before. The students "rocking the boat" had me so pumped up. It was really cool to have all of my teammates right there cheering me on, and out of all of the 400s I have run, it was by far my favorite.
Q) Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?
I think my biggest competition has come from my teammates. I have been so fortunate to be surrounded by girls who are focused, committed, and passionate about the sport, and who push me every day to do my best. On our team, if you are not working your hardest, there is someone else who is. I think this has pushed everyone, including myself to always give 100%, and this competition amongst us has made us a better team.
Q) What was your greatest accomplishment?
My biggest accomplishment in track was taking fifth place at state in triple jump my junior year. The previous year, I missed qualifying for state by three quarters of an inch, and it was heart wrenching to come so close to my goal, but not be able to reach it.
That day at state was one of the best days of my life; I have never been more focused or prepared to compete, and I was on top of my game for all six of my jumps. Standing on the podium afterwards was truly so special.
To have all of my hard work from the past three years pay off, and to feel such a strong sense of accomplishment was unforgettable.
Q) If you could do it all over again what would you change about your career in high school?
If I could do it all over again, I would try and focus more on managing my pre race nerves. I think there were a few times that they got the best of me, and if I had the opportunity to redo some of my races or meets, I would want to work on using those nerves more to help me, instead of hold me back.
Q) What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
Throughout all of my track seasons, there have been times where I have been in a slump in one or more of my events, and not performing where I felt like I should be, despite working hard at practice. Those times were definitely frustrating, but staying focused and continuing to try my best helped me get through it.
Q) What will you miss the most?
There is so much I am going to miss; my teammates, competing, and I think just the sport overall. Compared to other sports, it is more difficult to compete in track outside of high school or college competition, and not as common. Because of this, I am going to miss not being able to compete in this kind of setting again, and all the fun memories that come with being on a big team and going to meets.
Q) What advice would you give to younger athletes?
I would tell younger athletes to take in and enjoy their time as high school athlete, the good and the bad, when it's easy and when it's hard, because you can never get this time back. Especially with everything going on now, remember that nothing is guaranteed, so make the most of every practice and competition, because you never know if it could be your last.
Q) What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?
My jumping coach, Coach Russell, has really helped me by working with my specific goals and helping me reach them. Throughout each season, he has pushed me in in the areas I need to improve on, so that I am more successful and able to achieve my goals. He has also been a strong source of encouragement, which I think has also helped me be successful.
Q) What are your college plans?
I am currently in the process of deciding where to go to college.
Q) Who would you like to say 'thank you' to?
I want to say thank you to my family, because I don't know what I would do without them. They have supported me, cheered for me, and helped me through all of my endeavors in high school, and I feel so blessed and grateful to have them as my support system. I also want to thank my teammates, for making the past four years so much fun and for being such wonderful friends!