Larger than Life: Mill Creek's Tyler Woodrome -- (Staff Photo Illustration by Brendan Sullivan and Nicole Puckett)
Mill Creek cross country coach Andy Christie has given up setting goals for Tyler Woodrome.
“I’ve kind of learned not to predict anything for him,” Christie said. “Anytime I say maybe you’ll be able to do this, it seems like he blows it away.”
Woodrome takes pride in surpassing’s Christie’s standards. He did this spring by winning the Class AAAAAA state championship in the 1,600-meter run in track.
Now the senior, who is the top returning finisher from the cross country state meet, has his own goals. A state championship.
“I love passing his expectations,” Woodrome said.
Woodrome wrestled his freshman and sophomore year until he realized he had potential in cross country and track. He wasn’t one of Mill Creek’s top seven runners at state in 2011, but made his presence felt during the track season. Woodrome placed fifth at the state meet in the 800 with a time of 1:53 in 2012.
“I was like wow, we’ve really got something special here,” Christie said. “This is not normal.”
Woodrome gave up wrestling to concentrate on running. It paid off by taking sixth at the cross country state meet last year with a time of 16 minutes, 46.44 seconds. The sixth-place finish, which is second-best in school history, boosted Mill Creek to the Class AAAAAA state championship.
“What was great is Tyler stepped up right when we needed him,” Christie said. “We’re going for a state title as a team. Our goal for him at state was top 15 or 20 and he kept moving up as the race went on. The last 400 he went from 12th to sixth. It ended up being on a day when we needed him to.”
Woodrome’s success continued in the spring when he defeated defending state champion Josh Brickell from Peachtree Ridge in the 1,600 with a time of 4:13.41.
“I’ve learned not to underestimate him. When he gets out there in competition, in other sports it’s called being a gamer, in our sports it’s being a racer,” Christie said. “He will give it his all to get to the finish line. I always have an idea of what I think maybe he can do, but he usually surpasses that because he has such an inner drive and determination.”
It was an impressive win and time, considering Christie set the goal for him to hit sub 4:20 that season.
“Yeah, I love doing that,” Woodrome said with a big grin.
Woodrome’s success this spring has thrusted him into one of the state’s top runners this year. He’s received interest from several major colleges and took a one-week 1,500 mile road trip around the Southeast with his father David to look at schools.
“You could ask me a year ago when I was on cross country, I never would have thought I would make it this far,” Woodrome said.
Now Woodrome will go into his senior season with a different feel as the top runner and the one everyone is chasing.
“His main focus is to help us defend our state title,” Christie said. “Again, I’m not putting a cap on him. We’ve talked about sub-16 and competing for an individual title. But beyond that I feel the sky is the limit for him.”