Anniston High School’s still fledgling cross country program had a “French Fry” leading the way two years ago. Now, the Bulldogs have a “Tater Tot.”
Though 6-foot-1 sophomore Christian Myles has grown into something more like a French fry these days, his taller and tot-width leadership for Anniston’s team jumps out like the scent of fresh tots from the oven.
Like James Haynes, back in the day, Myles leads the way for the Bulldogs. He led them and finished second overall in the Pleasant Valley Invitational 1A-3A race on Saturday, traversing the new and hilly Raider course in 18:06.84. He was second in a field of 108 boys in the event’s small-schools race.
Anniston, a 4A team thought to be dropping in the next reclassification, and Myles’ time would’ve won the 4A-7A race by 10.01 seconds.
Myles will be a contender at the county meet Oct. 24 but has many miles to run between now and then. He took time Wednesday to speak with Star Sports Writer Joe Medley for the weekly One-on-One feature.
Question: OK, off the top, how did you get the nickname “Tater Tot?”
Answer: I started off in my eighth-grade year. James and my brother (Miciah) told me to come out, because they needed another person to run, so there was already four of them, and all of them were seniors. My brother was in the 10th grade. So, they needed somebody else. I was playing football at the time, and they told me to come out there. I was, like, ‘OK, I’ll try it.’ I had to come out to practice after football practice, and I’ve just been practicing ever since.
Q: I guess you gave up football for cross country. What made you want to do that?
A: I’ve been running all my life. At first, when I started, I’d ride by a lot of times and see the high-schoolers run. People at school would tell me, like, they’ve been doing a lot of work, but I’ve been running since I was elementary in middle school. I really started taking it serious when I got to high school.
Q: What are your goals for this season?
A: Academically, making As and Bs and studying for the ACT, a 28 or above on the ACT. For the cross country season, I want to break (finish faster than) 17 minutes. I’ve been working hard all summer, and I really want to break 17 minutes. I’ve run a 17:22.
Q: How about the team?
A: I really think we can do good. If we keep coming out each and every day and work hard, I think, county wise, we can come in the top 10 at county and definitely qualify for state.
Q: What celebrity’s autograph would you like to have?
A: Elliot Kipchoge, from Kenya. I started watching him this summer, and he really motivates me. I see a lot of discipline he shows, hard work and team work.
Q: If you had an extra $20, how would you spend it?
A: I would go to Waffle House. That’s my favorite place. I love the All-Star. It’s got hash browns, bacon, scrambled eggs with cheese, raisin bread and a waffle.
Q: If you had to pick a theme song for your team, what would it be?
A: By Roddy Ricch, “Ricch Forever.” They like that song. It gets them pumped up for meets. The last meet we went to, at Pleasant Valley, we played that song, and they were rapping and all of that.
Q: What was the longest car ride you’ve ever taken?
A: We went from Atlanta all the way to New York City (about 14 hours and 900 miles). It was a vacation. I love it. It was beautiful. We went to Times Square. You see different types of culture and taste different types of food. I had some beef patties. It was, like, a little truck on the street at Times Square.
Q: What’s something about you that few people know?
A: I’m half Haitian. My mom (Fabienne) was born in Haiti and moved here when she was 3.
Q: Who on your team is most likely to become famous one day?
A: I’m going to go with Marianna Reed. She’s a seventh-grader. She’s very hard-working. She’s smart, very intelligent and disciplined.