ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: JUSTIN STEPHENS

Over many years, Seminole High School (SHS) has showcased many amazing, talented, and dedicated athletes that truly reflect the Seminole Nole pride! This week’s athlete of the week is none other than Justin Stephens. Justin Stephens is a junior in the IB program who is currently participating on our Seminole track team. Stephens is a very talented athlete  on our school’s team whose efforts have recently been recognized and rewarded. 

Seminole’s track team has been known to bring home many achievements, and will no doubt continue to do so in future competitions. The track team is a very diligent, efficient, and hard working team. They train weekly and build up their strength and endurance in order to perform their best at competitions. Their conditioning consists of continuous strenuous workouts. Not only is their conditioning hard, but they also train throughout the year up until the moments leading up to their competitions. Justin Stephens, someone who continues to bring home awards, is one such exemplary athlete.

Stephens explains how he trains to build-up to the track teams worthy standards. He states: “For track what we do to condition are sprints like six 150s, or 300,200,100 [these are specific sprints]. We do these to keep us in shape, but also increase our speed. Usually when we do these workouts we do them in pace or sprint them to increase our speed. Sometimes, the coach would give us something big like 10 repeat 200 or a 600 to really help keep us in shape.” 

Stephens explains that he got into track because of his middle school teacher: “She saw me run  one time and asked if I wanted to join the middle school track team. After some thought I decided to try it out. Back in elementary school, I was always pretty fast especially whenever we had P.E, or during recess, so I thought that it would be a really fun experience! Track has pretty much stuck with me since then and now I love it so much!” 

Stephens was able to be exposed to a new world he never knew thanks to a past teacher of his. We all have those teachers who impact us in different ways. In Stephens’ case it benefitted him in more ways than one! 

“I would say I improved so much from last year because my times have gotten significantly better! Last year I had just come back from the pandemic and an injury, so I barely trained which left me really out of shape for half of the season. To help, after last season I trained over the summer and during the 1st semester and got in really good shape for this season. I would say that is the main reason I am able to see such improvement, from this year to last year.”, expresses Stephens. He was able to recognize a flaw and learn and improve from it. This is what makes Stephens such a valuable track athlete!

In response to an inquiry about his future, Stephens replies: “I want to pursue track to a collegiate level. I would love to run track in college. It would be the most ideal to be able to receive an offer for track. I would definitely continue track in college but only if I were to get a scholarship for track. If I don’t, I don’t think I would want to dedicate my life to track, due to the dedication needed to succeed. I am planning on applying for scholarships for track, in hopes that I will be accepted! I need to get my times a little faster and hopefully the offers will start coming in.”

Stephen elaborates that track has become a major part of life, so it being part of his future is only more appealing to him:“Track has helped me by being a source of escape from the stress of school and other life factors. Though it may give me its own stress, it is also a stress reliever. Being with my team also helps me so much; they are like a family to me. Being able to be around them has really helped when times are tough. Of course I love track! It has helped me so much in life and it has such a big impact on who I am now. Being able to pursue it in the future would be amazing!”

Track seems to be a simple sport, but it needs lots of dedication, time, and effort in order to succeed. Luckily for Seminole, we have talented track runner Justin Stephens ensuring Nole victories!