Parish Episcopal has been making quite the name for itself when it comes to dominating the DFW-area sports scene. Moreover, though, the athletes have been making it a point to sharpen their skills and fine-tune their abilities in every area in order to continue the tradition of excellence that Panthers Athletics has set and maintained. Junior athlete, Cedric Mays II, has seen the benefit of hard work and dedication throughout his time at Parish. The 5-foot-6 athlete is a three-time football state champion and closed out his junior track and field season as the best triple jumper in TAPPS 6A- all while breaking Parish Episcopal’s triple jump school record. VYPE DFW was able to catch up with Mays following his gold medal jump.
Hard Work Reaps Benefits
Under the guidance of Parish Episcopal track and field head coach Jeremy Wariner, working towards competing in the state championship track meet has been something all of the Panthers track and field athletes have been focused on. With consistent appearances, Wariner was positive that his team would do well in the 2022 track and field season- and he was correct.
So, what has been the secret to Mays’ success this season? Mays would tell you that the real secret is in the coaches that have helped shape who he is as an athlete. “Coach Wariner and Coach Esther helped push me to become better,” Mays told VYPE in an exclusive interview. “I wouldn’t be where I am without them.”
Even the newest track and field fan can tell you there’s something special about Parish’s track and field team. Not only are there great individual results, but the team- as a whole- has done great. At the beginning of the season, coach Wariner told VYPE he believes the team does well because the kids truly care about one another and support each other across all events during practice and meet days. Mays reiterated that building relationships with the team and strengthening bonds has been a key component to Panthers track and field. “I feel like this year specifically everyone who was out there strived to be the best, so we would all push each other and hold each other accountable. This didn’t do anything but make us as close to the best as we could be,” said Mays.
Setting and Accomplishing Goals
As an accomplished football athlete, Mays has become used to focusing on growing and getting better throughout the years. Mays has been a three-time state champion with Parish Episcopal football and was ready to make a splash in track and field. With the mindset to always be better than he was than the year before, Mays has been able to get into gear each season. Setting obtainable goals for himself, Mays feels as though this season has been filled with accomplishments, but he continues to look toward the future and strives to do everything he can to remain at peak performance.
“My goal this year was to try to PR in all of my events and- if possible- go to state in all of my events. I feel like I met my goals, but I do have a lot of work I need to do before my senior year.”
Mays posted a school record 43’4.50 triple jump at the TAPPS 6A State Meet resulting in his gold medal. Mays broke the school record three times throughout the season. “[Breaking the school record] feels surreal,” Mays told VYPE. “I remember when I first started triple jump in 7th grade. I would have never thought I would’ve broken a record.”
Sometimes you have a good outing and you just feel it in your bones that what you did was not only great by your standards, but it was great across the board. At the state meet, Mays knew before his last jump that gold was as good as his. “I was the very last jumper,” Mays began. “Right before my last jump I saw that the guy before me scratched (meaning his jump wasn’t going to count). That’s when I knew I was a state champ. My last jump was really just for fun.”
“It feels amazing [to be a state champion],” said Mays. “Some people can only dream about winning state and I’ve been blessed to do it in two sports.” Being able to claim the top spot has been a whirlwind for the athlete. Mays has been sharing his excitement about the victory on his Instagram account- posting photos with his medal as well as his football championship ring:
One of the things that helps Mays stay at the top of his game is the fact that he is a dual-sport athlete and is active throughout the year. “I don’t really get an offseason due to the fact that football starts right after track season ends,” Mays told VYPE. “So my focus shifts at the end of each sport’s seasons. I have to prepare for the next season. It’s really just a mindset, to be honest. When football ends, I take a week off for my body to recover then I prepare for track. I choose to push myself to be great because I can’t rely on there to be someone to do it for me.”
By being an accomplished athlete with Parish athletics, Mays has been able to form bonds with teammates and make many memories- some he is still yet to make as he has his entire senior year ahead of him- but he was able to pick out a favorite memory from his time so far with Panthers track and field. “My favorite track memory has got to be the moment I found out I won state in triple jump. My friends and coaches were going crazy.”
So far, in his time at Parish, Mays feels as though the school as a whole is doing a great job preparing him for the next level of sports and academics. “It’s been very helpful.”
A Bright Future
Although Mays has not committed to a college just yet, the path is laid out before him. He’s keeping his options open while he looks for a school that will be the perfect fit. “I am looking for a program who welcomes me into the family and has a diverse atmosphere,” Mays said.
Mays hopes to major in journalism or education.
For now, Mays is focused on getting better for next year. “I’m looking forward to another chance at a state title. Summer track and training is how I plan on preparing for next season. Really, anything Wariner feels like could help me, I will try to do.”
Who do you look up to as an athlete?
“I look up to my coach, Jeremy Wariner.I feel like he’s the perfect example- with him winning a couple gold medals in the Olympics.”
Who is your favorite professional sports team?
“Probably the Dallas Cowboys. I don’t really have a favorite team in the NBA. I just watch a bunch of games.”
If you could go to dinner with one person (dead or alive) who would it be? What would you want to talk about?
“Definitely Kobe Bryant. I loved the way he carried himself and praised his work ethic. I strive to be as great as him as I continue down my athletic career- whether it’s for track or football.”