NAME: Michelle Rogers
SCHOOL: Ashville High School
1. How many years have you been coaching high school cross country (and at your current school)?
This is my 5th year to be the Ashville cross country coach.
2. What do you attribute as the main reasons for the success of your program?
Both of my teams (girls and boys) are like a family. They truly work well together and support each other at running and life in general. Many of them have been running since 7th grade, and we have just continued to add guys to our program who just mesh right into to what we do and who we are. Our previous coach did a great job of establishing the program and had a great group of leaders in his upperclassman, and we were able to continue building on that foundation to make our program successful.
3. What would be the best way to describe your style and philosophy of coaching and working with high school runners?
Most of the workouts I do at the same time with them unless it is a workout that I need to call out splits for them. I think it is important for them to see I am not asking them to do anything I wouldn't do too! We do several local 5ks together throughout the year and a few of my kids participate in training runs with our local running group. Some of our parents participate too. I love that they see other people (adults of all ages!) running and how it is a lifelong sport.
4. What are your core beliefs in your training plan and workouts for your cross country squads?
We spend a lot of time during the summer working on building our base and adding mileage. We also include Crossfit style workouts 2-3x a week. And their favorite part of summer workouts are the hills! By the end of summer we begin transitioning to our next phase to include more interval and repetition type workouts. I want our workouts to have us prepared for whatever Saturday's race course will offer.
5. How many runners do you return from your top 7 from a year ago?
We did not lose any runners from our top 7, and I have a few new guys that I think can really help us out, so we're excited to see what they can do!
6. Who is your projected top 7 heading into the cross country season?
Wyatt Knight, Joe Stevens, Clayton Knight, Ashton Vann, Walker Griffith, Bruce Pantoja
7. Who are your team captains or leaders and what stands out about them as examples for the rest of their teammates?
I have two seniors that have been running since their 7th grade year, Wyatt Knight and Clayton Knight. They do a great job of encouraging the younger runners and recruiting others to come out. They are great examples for the entire team and will be missed very much after graduation!
8. Who have you been most impressed or surprised with their improvement and/or fitness from their summer training?
I have several new guys out this year. We've been trying to talk them into running with us for a few years, and I'm glad they've finally joined us!
9. Any impactful freshmen or transfers to join the team this season?
We do have a few soccer guys who are joining us, a senior that we finally!! talking into running, and a freshman who will be running his first year with us after transferring from another school. I am excited to see how well they can do this season! I believe they will be able to help us out this year and help us continue to be successful in the next few years.
10. What are the top invitational meets that your team will be attending this season?
We will be attending the JSU Foothills and Oakville XC Invitational along with several others. The Oakville meet is great so they can run the state course before the state meet. We are also attending the Fairview Invitational, and my runners always love going to that course.
11. What will be the biggest obstacle or challenge facing your team this season?
We had a few injuries last season that plagued us, so we are just hopeful to have an injury free season and to be able to avoid any sicknesses or quarantines due to Covid.
12. What will be the biggest reason why your team is successful this season?
For four of my guys, this is their last season. I know they want to win and have a successful season, and their younger teammates want it just as much so I know they're going to put in the work to get there.
13. What is a favorite annual or common pre-season workout or run for your team?
We try to do at least one local 5k together just for fun before the season really starts up. It's a great way to see where they're at time wise and just to shake out all the pre-season jitters without the pressure of it being a meet.
14. What is a favorite annual or common mid-season workout for your team?
I'm not sure they'd say it is a favorite right now, but by the end of the season I know they like the results they get from doing 400 repeats!
15. What is a favorite annual or common championship season or end-of-season workout for your team?
By this point in the season, when we are backing off to be ready for state, I think they'd say they enjoy doing an easy run all together while they talk, listen to music, and just enjoy being with each other before the season closes.
16. What are your top 3 goals for this year's squad?
- Stay healthy and injury free.
- Get our top 7 guys' times down to 15s-17s.
- Train and perform so that we can walk away from each meet knowing we gave it all we had.