PERRY -- Tiffany Mountin knew that this year’s cross country team at Perry would be a little different.
As a freshman a year ago, Mountin had the advantage of being able to pace off of senior Abby Booth, The Telegraph All-Middle Georgia girls cross country runner of the year last year.
This year was different. Booth graduated, and Mountin found herself as the fastest girl on her team.
It wasn’t until after the first meet of the year that Mountin, after a second-place finish in that meet, knew that she was going to be fine.
Mountin capped her year off with an eighth-place finish at the GHSA Class AAAA meet, taking 20 seconds off of her time from a year ago.
Mountin is this year’s Telegraph All-Middle Georgia girls cross country runner of the year.
“I was pretty nervous about how my times would be this year without Abby, because I had to find my own pace at practice,” said Mountin, who finished ninth in the state meet her freshman year. “It was very challenging for me to be the No. 1 runner, but after the first meet I realized I could do it.
“Heading into the state meet this year, I really wanted to do a little better than I had done a year ago, and I was able to do that. I love running cross country, and hopefully I will be able to run when I get to college.”
Perry head coach Brett Hardy also found it a challenge to coach a runner like Mountin.
“I had to try and find different ways to keep her engaged because she was faster than anyone else on the team,” Hardy said. “It was obvious that she has a great deal of natural ability in the sport, but she had to learn how to be a hard worker and a leader on this team. A lot of times, she had to run with the boys, and that seemed to work for her. But I am very proud of how she accepted the challenge of being a leader on this team.”
Mountin, who played softball in the sixth grade, decided to start focusing on cross country after she was cut from the softball team the next year. She said running was something she quickly fell in love with.
“I just don’t feel right if I don’t run six days a week now,” said Mountin, who logs 45 to 50 miles per week. “Running is something that I really enjoy, and I want to keep improving throughout the next few years.”