Girls XC Scouting Report: American Christian Academy

American Christian Academy are a perennial 4A powerhouse. After a championship in 2020, the girls are back to defend their title.

School: American Christian Academy

Coach: Charles Tiller

How many years have you been coaching high school cross country (and at your current school)?

What do you attribute as the main reasons for the success of your program?
Our success is based off of the work we put in and how much effort we put towards doing that work.

What would be the best way to describe your style and philosophy of coaching and working with high school runners?
I serve in a support capacity. The athletes want to achieve specific goals and I help them get there.

What are your core beliefs in your training plan and workouts for your cross country squads?
To succeed in this sport, you cannot do it part-time. You have to run 6 days a week a large number of weeks per year.

How many runners do you return from your top 7 from a year ago?

Who is your projected top 7 heading into the cross country season?
Dani Blakely, Goose Guthrie, Deja Hines, Kristin Hobson, Karis Kelley, Sydney Sharp, and Savannah Townsend

Who are your team captains or leaders and what stands out about them as examples for the rest of their teammates?
Kristin Hobson and Karis Kelley. Kristin has totally transformed herself into a really good runner from where she was 4 years ago. Karis is consistent in her training week in and week out. She comes to practice daily with a hard work attitude.

Who have you been most impressed or surprised with their improvement and/or fitness from their summer training?
It's hard to choose one or two individuals. As a group, the girls have improved. We have some more work to do to reach our potential though.

Any impactful freshmen or transfers to join the team this season?
Dani Blakley and Sydney Sharp will be nice additions to our team.

What are the top invitational meets that your team will be attending this season?
Our two biggest meets of the season are Jesse Owens and TCBY.

What will be the biggest reason why your team is successful this season?
The athletes have put a lot of work in. I'd love to say a whole lot more but it really comes down to that one word - work.

What will be the biggest obstacle or challenge facing your team this season?
Adjusting and adapting to the changes that COVID 19 has caused.

What is a favorite annual or common pre-season workout or run for your team?
Typically, it is our Cades Cove run at camp every summer. Unfortunately, we were not able to do do it this summer.

What is a favorite annual or common mid-season workout for your team?
We don't have a go-to type workout.

What is a favorite annual or common championship season or end-of-season workout for your team?
Though it is not a workout, our fall Time Trial generally held in mid to late October is a favorite.

What are your top 3 goals for this year's squad?
1) Being consistent day in and day out with our training. 2) Being competitive in every meet we compete at and 3) Derive fulfillment from being a part of this sport and our team.

How has the Covid-19 outbreak affected your team in preparation for the 2020 XC Season?
We had to sharply reduce the amount of time we trained with one another this summer. Not having a track season forced us to improvise as well. XC is so much about relationships and not being around each other as much has been a challenge at times.