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Cedar Creek hires new cross-country coaches

Former LA Tech grads take over program
Tuesday, May 14, 2024
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Photos courtesy of Cedar Creek MiKayla Williams (left) has been named the new head cross-country coach at Cedar Creek. Ashley Whitman (right) will come on as an assistant coach. Both are Louisiana Tech alumnae.

MiKayla Stiles has accepted the position as the head cross-country coach at Cedar Creek, Stiles and Creek AD Gene Vandenlangenberg confirmed Monday afternoon.

Stiles will be joined by new assistant coach Ashley Whitman - both Louisiana Tech alumnae who ran cross-country for the Bulldogs starting in 2016.

Hailing from Liberty Hill, Texas, Stiles is excited to bring her skills to Cedar Creek.

“I had quite a few friends of mine who have kids who go to Cedar Creek reach out and let me know about the opportunity and I prayed about it and once I went to interview, I really liked the program and the school. It was really a God thing honestly," Stiles said.

After meeting with some team members Monday after the decision was official, Stiles continued talking with Whitman for the next steps of the program, starting with summer workouts in June.

Stiles' program mission is to compete at the highest level, working daily to get better at the small things to make big goals possible.

“I’m looking forward to getting the season started with them and I actually did meet with some of the runners already so I’m excited to work with them,” Stiles said. “I can’t wait to help them on and off the field and instill integrity and pride in themselves, the program, the school. I’m a competitive person and I want to instill that in them as well hopefully.

“It’s an absolute dream to have the opportunity to do this and to potentially help them do what they do what they love at the next level.”

Stiles and Whitman have known each other since they began their respective careers at Tech, becoming friends quickly through a shared passion for running, along with a developed bond through Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Whitman, who ran at Tech after transferring from Mississippi College, enjoyed her time at Tech and learning the region's history and running environment compared to her familiarity down south.

"I was a sophomore when I transferred to Tech and MiKayla was really the first one to get to know me and invite me to FCA events," Whitman said. "We've hung out ever since and she really was the one that allowed me to become a full believer. I've loved this sport since I was young, and it's really exciting I'm helping with track and cross-country as well."

Whitman attended John Curtis High School, a region known for its high-level distance runners and stable programs. Whitman hopes her experience can translate to Creek as Stiles and her build up the Cougars into a 1A force.

"I think coach Craig did such a good job that I think we're just wanting to continue striving for championship excellence and we're excited to do that."