Green Hope Girls Kick Off The 2017 Season Under A New Coach

Workout Wednesday from Green Hope Girls in 2015

You can't talk about the history of North Carolina girls cross country without talking about Green Hope.  One of the big names behind the program is the girls assistant cross country coach and head track coach Roger Collins.  Collins came to Green Hope in 2006, and the Falcons will now enter the 2017 season without Collins on the coaching staff.  

Collins is taking a step back from his coaching career to spend more time with his wife and two young children.  The Falcons will kick off their season tomorrow at the Wake County Kickoff under new coach and 2009 Green Hope graduate Julie Ross.  Ross has been at East Forsyth the last few years and has recently moved back to the Raleigh area.  She'll be an assistant coach and will work with Head Coach Michael Miragliuolo this season.  Ross certainly has some big shoes to fill as Collins helped bring Green Hope's girls to being one of the most, if not the most, successful programs in North Carolina History.

In cross country Green Hope displayed their dominance winning NCHSAA 4A team titles from 2009 through 2014 followed by runners up finishes in 2008, 2015 and 2016.  The team also have made North Carolina's only two girls appearances to Nike Cross Nationals after taking 2nd at the NXNSE regional in 2010 and 2014.  

Green Hope girls after making NXN in 2010

Collins has coached plenty of strong individuals including Elly Henes, Maura McDonnell, Erica Amatori, Lauren Colberg, Theresa Enright, Olivia Enright and Morgan Adams.  Henes holds the Green Hope cross country school record of 17:17 and aside from being on the 2014 NXN squad, she qualified as an individual in 2015.  

Below Collins talks about his best memories as Green Hope's head coach and the mentality he and the program had over his tenure:

Memories...that's tough.  Each year has been special in its own way.  The groups that made NXN were very special groups.  We had tremendous leadership those years and those captains really emphasized selflessness and putting the team goals first.  There have also been the times when a kid made big gains that don't get noticed outside our program.  The senior who finally breaks 21 or 20 minutes after working so hard and coming very close.  The kid who has to step in on a relay at the last minute, takes advantage of the opportunity and just kills it.

I think a big thing I'm very proud of is that, even with all the success we were fortunate to enjoy it, there was never a sense of being entitled to any of it.  We always understood and appreciated how hard it was to achieve the things that we did.  Even if we had won states the prior year, we understood we were starting the next year from the same point as anyone else.  If we wanted to achieve something, we had to earn it.

Though Collins won't be coaching for the time being, but you can expect to still see him at meets cheering on his former athletes and friends on the current coaching staff. We asked Collins if he had plans to return after taking a break from coaching, his response is below:

I can probably see myself returning to coaching after a few years.  I'll help out at meets and go cheer on Green Hope kids (and our alums) when my schedule allows, but I'm going to enjoy having more time and energy to spend with my family and then see where things are.  No specific plans at the moment, but I'm very content with the decision to take a break.  Also very grateful to have had the opportunity to coach at Green Hope and work with some outstanding kids, many of whom also happened to be good runners.

Collins will certainly be missed at Green Hope, and though losing him on the coaching staff is a big loss for the Falcons, I wouldn't expect things to be any different with the girls program with Coach Ross and Coach Miragliuolo.  The standard has been set of what to expect from the Green Hope Cross Country/Track program and they'll continue to be a powerhouse in North Carolina, they'll just be starting a new chapter in their book.