Coach of the Year: Adams keeps Chiefs going
by Chris Byess
cbyess@cherokeetribune.com
December 22, 2012 01:06 AM | 1694 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WOODSTOCK — Though James Adams’ Sequoyah boys cross country team may not have possessed a great breakout runner, or have qualified for the state meet in dramatic fashion, it did place higher than any other county team in Carrollton with a ninth-place finish at the state championship.

It was the second straight year that Adams had coached the boys team to a top-10 finish at state, something no other local coach has managed to do.

For his squad’s steady late-season results, which also included finishing second at both the Region 7AAAAA meet and at the Atlanta Classic, Adams is the 2012 Cherokee Tribune Boys Cross Country Coach of the Year.

“It feels pretty special, very special actually,” the fourth-year Sequoyah coach said. “I respect all of the coaches in the county, so this is a big honor.”

Though the Chiefs ended the year on a high note, they suffered from a rocky start.

Their top runner, Christopher Costa, suffered a hamstring pull just as the year started, while Ryan McNeal battled bronchitis for the first half of the season.

“We went through a little sickness and had a few injuries here and there,” Adams said. “We also started out with some really tough meets. We weren’t as great as we could have been.”

But Sequoyah worked through its rough early season until it reached the Atlanta Classic, where it finished second overall. Adams described the meet as one of the turning points of the season.

After that, the Chiefs went on to finish third at the county meet before putting in one of their best performances of the season to take second at the region race two weeks later.

“We did really well at region and had a couple of kids outperform what they had done all year,” Adams said. “Being in a tough region and getting second, I was very proud of them.”

After that, the Chiefs went on to state and claimed their second top-10 finish in two years — the first time in the program’s history that it had repeated a top-10 finish at the state level.

Adams was quick to credit his runners’ hard work, along with their improved health, as the impetus for the late-season success.

“The more miles we put in, the better we were” he said. “The kids really started dedicating themselves during the year. Getting healthy was really what helped the team more than anything.”

Though Adams took little credit himself, Costa made it clear that Adams was a driving force behind the Chiefs’ success.

“Coach Adams is fantastic,” Costa said. “He is really good at pushing us and pushing everyone, even the ones who may not want to do it. Right now, we are one of the best teams Sequoyah has ever had, and we owe a lot of that to him. He is the kind of coach that you want to run for.”
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