Salute To Seniors: Parker Shahdad (South Mecklenburg)

Here is your chance to be featured in a stand-alone article on NCRunners. Answer these questions as fully as you can in anywhere from 2-4 sentences and send three pictures of you competing to If you also want us to tag your Twitter or Instagram in the article send along your handle as well. We'll run as many of these as we can throughout the month of July.
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2019 Indoor Rankings
What was your greatest moment while competing in high school? 

4A West Regional at Providence my senior year. Running the 4x800 we were seeded 7th or 8th coming in. All four of us ran huge PR's, myself breaking 2 for the first time running 1:58. This helped us get 4th place, qualifying for States! After all the hard work us four had put forth during the season and after all the obstacles we faced, I was overcome with emotions to say the least. States was a goal we had dreamed of all season, and to see that come to fruition was truly incredible.

NCHSAA 4A West Regional 4x800m where Shahdad split 1:58

What is your biggest regret (related to T&F in high school) or what would you have done differently and why?

If I would do it all over again, I would have started running the 800 earlier. I solely ran the 400 for my first three years until I got placed into the 4x8 at Conference my junior year and split a 2:04! I was always better at the 800, but never even knew it. I dropped six seconds off of that time my senior year, with myself feeling like I could've done more with more time.


What will you miss the most about HS T&F/XC?

The competition. Ask anyone you know and they will tell you I am a competitor. I hate losing. Track races especially always gave me this adrenaline rush unlike anything I've experienced before, and I loved all 8 seasons of it. Just being able to showcase all my hard work and see it pay off with a PR, man nothing beats that feeling.


What is some advice from incoming frosh and rising seniors on your high school team that you would like to share with them?

For incoming freshmen, consistency is key. If you put in the time and effort every single day, the results will eventually come, so don't get discouraged after one bad practice or one bad race. To the rising seniors at South Meck, I know there aren't many, so it's crucial that you guys step up and lead by example for those who look up to you, especially the incoming freshmen. I know you guys got this, I've trained you well.


What was the hardest workout you did your entire high school career? Did you like it or did you dread it?

Probably 1000m repeats during XC season, usually 6 of them on a hilly course around campus with strides and core afterwards. I've always been more short/mid distance oriented and my distance capabilities usually capped out at the 800. That being said, those grueling XC workouts paid dividends come track season for the 800 so it was always a challenge I looked forward to.


How did you make track/XC a very individual sport into more of a team sport?

During track, I would occasionally try to get the distance guys together on the weekends to go for a long run at the local greenway. I always tried to hold my teammates accountable, especially the guys on my relay. It was the competitive spirit in me trying to get the best out of them. Finding a group to run with helped me push myself to become the runner that I am, and made the sport feel more team-oriented. It also helped create friendships that will last for a long time.


Finally, what are your college plans? Will you be competing in college, where? What do you plan on studying? What do you have as career plans? 

I will be attending NC State University in the fall with the intent to major in business, accounting, or some other related field. I plan to run club cross country and track at NC State. I'm not quite sure my plans after college, but I will pursue a job in whatever field I choose to concentrate my studies in.


Anything else you'd like to add or shoutouts you'd like to give?

Shoutout to my two coaches over the past four years: Coach Ben Miller and Coach Ken Davis. I can't thank these two guys enough for the lasting impact they have had on my life. I would constantly complain about Coach Miller's ridiculous speed workouts, but in reality they helped craft me into a pretty solid runner. And without Coach Davis standing at the 600 meter mark telling me to kick into another gear in the 800, I don't know what I would do. Both of them have such a great passion for the sport, and it rubbed off on me almost immediately. Their passion helped turn what was originally a hobby for me into a lifestyle. And for that I will be forever thankful.