Franklin's Nyjari McNeil finishes off her high school career as one of the dominant middle distance runners in the history of the state of Maryland. She won a total of 13 individual titles, while running on numerous state champion relay squads as well for Franklin. Her PR's of 1:12.39 in the 500 indoors and 2:07.34 in the 800 outdoors rank among the fastest all-time in Maryland. She'll continue her running at the next level for San Diego State in the fall.
What was your most memorable race/throw/jump/vault/moment?
Running at The Henderson Invitational in Pennsylvania because that's the best competition is for me all year. Last June, I was entered into the Elite 800m with college and high school runners and I won with a PR of 2:07.34. This year, I won again.
Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?
Gabriel Wilkinson from Pennsylvania is the best competition I've have in high school. I saw her run in Jr. Olympics years ago and was happy to have a chance to battle against such an experienced runner. Although I only ran against her a few times, she was definitely my biggest competitor.
What was your greatest accomplishment?
Winning the 2017 Gatorade Maryland Player of the Year award. It was a huge honor to be selected to represent the State of Maryland for my high school accomplishments on a National level.
If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running career in high school?
I would have asked Coach Paul to let me run against the boys at all the league meets all 4 years of high school. I trained with boys in all of my training groups for the past 11 years and they really push me and give me good competition on a regular basis.
What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
Running by myself. I ran alone for years during club track days. I was a gymnast for 9 years and was just took exhausted to train with the team so my Mom, who is also my Coach, would take me out on weekends or evenings to run workouts.
What will you miss the most?
I'll miss all of the local meet officials and coaches from other schools in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia who have supported me these past 4 years. It's also amazing to see athletes, parents and coaches from other schools rooting for you at meets, especially out of town, when I really need it. DMV track is a close knit family and I will miss that most of all.
What advice would you give to younger athletes?
Progress doesn't happen instantly, so young athletes shouldn't be discouraged if they don't reach all of their goals as quickly as they want to. It takes a lot of practice and time to improve. Be patient and TRUST YOUR TRAINING!
What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?
I have a Village of Coaches and each of them have given me advise and confidence in my abilities on and off the track. They have faith that I can compete at an next level which gives me the confidence to compete in big meets. They stood by me during the good and the bad times and never gave up on me. They worked with my crazy training schedule and travel to see me chase my dreams. I owe everything to my Village of Coaches and hope I continue to make them proud, as a young woman, college athlete and beyond, GOD willing .
What are your college plans?
My plans are to medal in the 800m at the collegiate conference championships, Regionals and NCAA and hopefully help my team win a championship before I graduate. I'll also be studying Kinesiology as a major in school.
Who would you like to say 'thank you' to?
Thank you to my Mom for coaching me for 11 years and working her schedule around my crazy track career. I want to also thank all of the various coaches and training groups I've practiced with over the years, especially Aariq Nixon, best training partner ever.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I'm looking forward to college track at warm and sunny San Diego State. GO AZTECS!