Mark Twain High School senior Shelby Hayes signed Tuesday to join the track and field program at Hannibal-LaGrange University.

Mark Twain High School senior Shelby Hayes signed her national letter of intent Tuesday to join the track and field program at Hannibal-LaGrange University.

The thrower spoke with the Courier-Post about her decision.

Courier-Post: What was going through your mind when you signed to continue your track and field career at Hannibal-LaGrange University?

Shelby Hayes: “I was excited to have my family and friends here to support me and I'm looking forward to being on the track team. I enjoyed it this year, and I'm ready to progress and get better in college.” 

You didn't compete in track during your first three years of high school. What inspired you to come out for the team at Mark Twain as a senior this season? 

“My friends told me I would enjoy it. At first, I was a little hesitant, but once I got out there, I enjoyed it and it was my favorite thing just like softball has been. It clicked. I've found a new love in track. I wish I would've been doing it all four years." 

What do you like about the throwing events?

“I'm in my own state of mind and I know what I can and I can't do. I know I can go out there and give it my all.” 

What are you most looking forward to once you get to HLGU?

“The Christian-based community, I'm all for that. It's what I want. HLG gives me everything I've always wanted. And being with (teammate and fellow HLGU signee) Sara Spoonhower, we're going to advance in our track careers together and I'm excited. Track and band are my happy spot. I can be relaxed and it gets me going. I've had a busy schedule and I want to keep it that way.”

Can you explain a bit about your involvement in band and how you will continue that in college?

“I've played clarinet since sixth grade. My sophomore year, we actually picked up jazz band, and I started playing saxophone. At HLG, I'm going to be in the symphonic band. I'm excited. Music and sports are my life.”

Along the lines of track, what do you think is the biggest lesson you learned this season? 

“Don't be scared to try new things. That's what I'm going to say for that. Give it your all. Don't say you can't because you can. Practice and hard work can get you there.”

What are you going to remember most about Mark Twain?

“The coaches had a big influence on me, and so did the teachers. They always kept me going. And I have friends that encourage me too. It's been pretty nice here.”

What are you going to major in at HLGU?

“Sports science. I want to be a physical therapist assistant.” 

Anything else you would like to add?

“I want to shout out to my aunt Marsha for always keeping me going. She's always told me, 'No one outworks you.' She's one of my main influences to help me keep going in sports, music and school.”