Senior Salute: Leesburg's Brandtson Duffie

Brandtson Duffie is a 2019 graduate from Fairfield-Leesburg, who will be competing in cross country and distance track events for Lehigh University

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1) What were some of the highlights of your high school cross country and track careers?   

Individual highlights of my high school athletic career include: a state championship win in the 2019 Division 3 800m, a runner-up result in the 2019 Indoor Division 2/3 state championship 800m, and a 23rd place finish at the 2018 D3 state cross country meet. 

Team highlights include: being apart of three state qualifying 4x800m relay teams and three state qualifying cross country teams.  

2) Did you encounter any struggles or adversity along the way that you had to overcome? 

Physically I was quite lucky to go four years with almost no injuries, the only exception was appendicitis which put me out for the first five weeks of my junior cross country season.

On the other hand, I struggled mentally early in my running career. After a poor performance in the 2016 state cross country meet, I followed it up with a 2017 indoor state meet where I ran times in the 1600m and 800m that I would've laughed at as a middle-schooler. It took countless meets of uncertainty and hesitation to gain my confidence back, and it was by far the hardest thing I had to overcome during my high school career. 

3) Aside from the competition, what was the best thing about being apart of Fairfield-Leesburg's program?    

My favorite part of Fairfield-Leesburg's program is our growth over the last six years. As a seventh-grader I watched our high school team qualify for the state meet for the first time ever. We had no track, three coaches, and thirteen athletes. Since then we've qualified for state six times, and have become perennial state championship contenders. To watch our school go from a team that nobody knew about, to winning invitationals that we had no business even being in, it showed me how far dedication and willpower could change a program.  

4) Are there any coaches or teammates that you've worked with over the past four years that you'd like to thank? 

First off I want to say thank you to every teammate I've ever had - you guys made practice easier, made workouts easier, and made my four years so special. I'd like to specifically reach out and thank Matthew Mangus, who was my training partner for four years and made every run feel like it was over in the blink of an eye. Also, thanks to Cohen Frost, who taught me how to be intense when I needed to be, but relax and have fun at other times. And finally, Riley Friend, who taught me how to bring out the best in every situation and made me a better person on and off the track. 

Thank you to Raymond Friend, Bill & Deborah Mangus and Roger Marsh for being such great and dedicated coaches - your influence will always play a role in my life. My final thanks goes out to my mom, who is my coach from home. Thank you for taking me to countless meets, encouraging me, and showing me how to be a leader.  

(Brandtson Duffie credits his coaches, teammates and family for helping him to become the athlete and the leader that he is today). 

5) What are your plans and goals for the future? Do you intend on continuing with the sport in college or in another capacity?  

My plan for the future is to attend Lehigh University, where I will run cross country and track. I am uncertain on what to expect as a freshman so at the moment, my goals are to make a difference in the program and continue to improve, not only as a runner but as a person.   

6) What advice would you give to a younger athlete who's hoping to have a successful and enjoyable high school career? 

My biggest piece of advice for younger athletes is to set goals that you think are nearly impossible. Write these goals down, and strive everyday to work towards them. When you do, it will be the most satisfying time of your life.  

My second piece of advice is to be confident. Every time you step up to the line you should think that you are the best in the race. Visualize winning and what it would feel like. Always go in with a positive attitude because a negative attitude is a losing attitude.    

Brandtson Duffie spoke with MileSplit following his D3 800m State Championship win -