Only one thing kept Myles Collins from a perfect season in cross country.
The Archer senior dominated his competition from start to finish, including an impressive run in Carrollton to win the Class AAAAAAA state championship, but just missed the state record on the hilly course with his blazing time of 15 minutes, 46.77 seconds. He still finishes his high school cross country career with the record in Georgia’s largest classification and an impressive list of victories, so it’s hard to complain with how his season went.
“I’m really proud of my high school season,” said Collins, the Daily Post Boys Runner of the Year. “It was a lot of hard work paying off with my teammates, Coach (John) McCartney and I. I had a great supporting cast with my friends, my family, people in the community, my sister and brother. It was four years of trying to get to this spot and winning a state championship. I feel great about the season. … I feel like I hit the plan on the head (at state) that Coach McCartney and and I came up with together. The record would have been nice, but I don’t think I could have run it any better. I could have run faster, but everybody says that.”
Collins set the pace at state quickly, seizing the lead and making the other runners keep up. They couldn’t do it, though.
His winning time was more than 20 seconds head of the AAAAAAA runner-up, Noah Hayes of Hillgrove.
“Myles has done extremely well staying with top competition and kicking at the end of the race, or even better going to the lead and pushing the pace throughout,” McCartney said.
The state championship added a final highlight to a season that also included crushing his competition at the Gwinnett County Championships. He posted a county-record time of 15:30.84 in that meet, topping the field by more than 50 seconds at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers. He also prepped for state by coasting to victory in the Area 1-AAAAAAA Championships with a time of 15:52.50.
Along the way, Collins was an excellent teammate and leader, his coach said.
“As a team captain, Myles has been the perfect example this season on how to train and race,” McCartney said.
Collins still has some cross country goals ahead as a high-schooler in races beyond the Georgia season. He wants to qualify for the Foot Locker National Cross Country Championships as one of the top-10 finishers at the South Regional, scheduled for Nov. 30 at McAlpine Park in Charlotte. He was 19th in the South at last year’s meet after sitting in 40th at the midway point and surging ahead late in the race.
“I’m not really looking for a time (at Foot Locker), I’m just looking to get top 10 and make the South team,” he said.
After Foot Locker, Collins said he will continue looking at his college options. He has a number of options because of his running talent and his academics — he has a 3.976 GPA with a lone B, an 88, in Spanish III.
He visited West Point, N.Y., earlier, but decided the U.S. Military Academy wasn’t the best fit. He took official visits to Georgia Tech and Kentucky, then plans to make two more official visits before making a final decision.
“I get excited talking about where I want to go,” he said.
The enjoyment of choosing a college also has Collins reflecting on his time at Archer, where he also has high goals in the spring for his final track and field season. No matter how things go on the track, he already has left a big mark on his high school with his decorated cross country career.
“It’s bittersweet (to finish at Archer),” Collins said. “I really like my school. I enjoy going there every day and hanging out with my teammates and friends. I have great teachers there who have been helping me since my freshman year. I wouldn’t say I’m excited about leaving Archer, but I am curious to see what the future holds.”