Hilton Head girls are ranked no. 1 in the SCTCCCA AAAA poll and the boys second.
Name: Max Mayo
School: Hilton Head High School, Athens High--Clarke Central High School, and Cedar Shoals High School
Years coaching: 15 years in Athens, Ga., two years coaching as a personal trainer for David Adams and the past 13 with Bill Wrightson at Hilton Head High School
Vision: I have always wanted to be a coach since I was 12 years old and started out coaching 8 year old kids in the recreation summer league in my hometown of Cairo, Ga. My son is named for my high school coach. I never gave anything but my best for Coach Taylor and that is what I expect from the kids I coach. He made a difference in my life and I am just "trying to pay it forward" and make a difference in the young people's lives I coach.
How did summer training go for your team?
We had a good summer overall but it is incredibly difficult to train in the heat and humidity we face every single day. We also had the usual jobs, vacations, sickness, etc. but overall, it went pretty well.
How do you prepare for the season with winning a state title last season?
It has been easy to prepare the girls since they didn't win. With the guys, it has been a "circle the wagon" thing as we lost three of our top guys.
What kind of goals do you have?
They change every year. For this coming season, we would like to keep the "boy's streak" going and start a new one with the girls. One of my biggest goals for these kids is that they can look back on their high school career with "no regrets," later in life, knowing that they were the "best they could be" with the tools they were given.
Why do you coach and how long have you been coaching?
I think I pretty much summed up why I coach in the "vision section" of this questionnaire. I think the bigger question is, after 30 plus years of coaching, "why am I STILL doing it?" The answer is simple. I am a 17-year cancer survivor from a form of cancer that has a survival rate of 3-5 percent. I believe that God has some unfinished business for me here on earth and that I am fulfilling who I was destined to be.
What is your biggest challenge as a coach?
Every day is a challenge in many ways, but it is still exciting to watch young boys and young girls mature into responsible, respectful, and successful young adults. As those of you that are in this sport understand, ultimate success is always about "beating your best self" and you don't have to win a race to do that.
What is your motivation?
To try to be a better coach and person each day of my life. Coaching distance runners just happens to be a part of it. I have also been the South and National Coordinator of the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships and I am the only person in the organization that has been with the meet since day one. Watching the race grow and how it has made an impact on the sport and in kid's lives is tremendously rewarding.
Did you run in high school? Please explain and share event bests.
I was a football, basketball, and baseball player in high school and a basketball and baseball player in college. I graduated from the University of Georgia. and took a job at a local high school coaching football, basketball, swimming, and track and cross country. Ultimately, I "fell in love" with the type of kid that cross country attracted, stopped coaching the other sports, and have been coaching distance runners since.
Making All-State last year were Sam Gilman, Isabel Muelheman, Tori Herman, and Sarah Cooke. Josh Williams, Ryan Moosbrugger, and Mallory Liggett missed by one or two places. Miyah Shatz and Abby Gross were slowed by injuries last year but have been All-State runners in the past.
Top newcomers: Right now it would be Sarah Neville on the girls and Colton Thune, Logan Seifert, Corbin McKinney, Palin Kayser, Jasper Rhinehart, and Max Baez on the boys side.
Top meets preparing for: Providence, Coaches Classic, Lake Murray, Starlight, Wendy's, and Low Country
Sleeper runners: Mallory and Ryan have the hardest time getting up in the summer.