Salute To Seniors: Brilee Pontius (Westlake)

 What was your most memorable race/throw/jump/vault/moment?

My most memorable race was when I won the 400m at the Davis Invitational my Sophomore year. I was seeded against some amazing girls, and to come out on top with a huge PR was so fun. It was my very first overall win in a meet, and I'll never forget it!


Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?

I have had 4 girls pushing me these past 4 years, and especially this year! Adi Nielson and I are on the same club team, and she is the most kindhearted person I've ever met. Racing her was so fun because she gets out CRAZY fast and I eat her dust the first 200 meters! We push each other to PRs every time we race. Alison Richter and Lexie Goff have also been great competition, we went from being just competitors to good friends and I'm so glad I got to race them these past 4 years. Lastly, Sarah Ballard. Sarah is so humble, yet so fast! I don't know how she does it, but I admire her so much. If there is anyone I don't mind losing to, it's those 4 girls!

 What was your greatest accomplishment?

It's close between either making national finals and placing in the 400 meter at the AAU indoor national championships my senior year, or winning the 400 at state. There's just something about winning the 400 that makes me feel more accomplished than winning the other sprint races, just because it's so much harder! I remember breaking the tape at the end of my 400 at state and being so happy. I worked for that title for 6 years and to see it all pay off was the best feeling in the world!


If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running career in high school?

If I could do it all over again, I don't think I would change a thing. Every setback only led to something greater, even if I didn't see it at the time. If I had to say something though, I would have joined club track earlier on. Gold Medal Athletics was the best choice I ever made! It really was such a wonderful, wild ride and looking back, I loved every gut-wrenching 400 and every pyramid workout.


What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?

Besides losing a season to covid, the most difficult obstacle I had to overcome was myself. In the middle of my senior season, I had an asthma attack halfway through a 400, and later that week was diagnosed with asthma. It was difficult to handle because it was the middle of the competition season, and I couldn't take any time off to figure out medications or treatments. I just had to roll with it. For the rest of the 400s I ran, I wasn't able to walk off the track by myself, because my oxygen was so low. My coach was there to catch me after every 400 so I didn't fall. It was definitely frustrating, knowing that I could go faster if only I could breathe better, but I'm so lucky to have been able to run as fast as I did and prove to myself that I am stronger than what life throws at me.

What will you miss the most?

I will miss the people the most. My competition became family and lots of my success goes to the girls I raced, who pushed me to PR. I have been able to meet so many new people, and make so many new friends. I have the biggest track family ever! I love every girl I raced against. It was usually the same girls in finals all season, and I grew so close to them. We bonded over how much we hated the 400 and threw up together after the 4x400. I'm going to miss it, but know that I have another family waiting for me at BYU!


What advice would you give to younger athletes?

Don't take anything for granted. You never know when you are going to have your last race, last bus ride with your team, or last medal. Make every second count. One of my favorite quotes is "train like you're number 2, and race like you're number 1" Just enjoy it. Enjoy every second, because when you're a freshman it seems like it will never end, but then you blink and you're a senior putting on your singlet for the last time.


What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?

I have been lucky to have the same coaches through my 4 years of track. My high school coaches pushed me to be the best I could be, and got excited with me when I won a race or PRed. They taught me to not let the way others see me change how I see myself. I also have a club coach, Sean Maye. He knows when it's time to be serious, and when to let us swim in the steeplechase water instead of doing our cooldown ;) Every coach I ended this season with made a huge impact on my life. They brought me from not even making the podium in my races, to making the podium in every race my senior year. I couldn't have done it without them.


What are your college plans?

I have committed to sprint for Brigham Young University! They have such a wonderful program and I am so blessed to be able to be a part of it! Go Cougs! 

 Who would you like to say 'thank you' to?

I would like to say thank you to my parents for supporting me. They came to every race and helped me so much. Thank you to my coaches for believing in me, thank you to both my Westlake team and my club team for being my best friends and showing me what true sportsmanship is. Thank you Josh from Milesplit for taking unflattering pictures of me running the 400, and for working so hard to make it to races and do photos and interviews. You're a real one!


Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Braid your hair for races, it makes you faster ;)