Anna Caughron is one of the top cross country runners at Charlottesville High School, but that hasn't always been the case.
"During Anna's first week of practice as a freshman, I wasn't sure that she was going to make it through the year," says CHS head coach Amy Pritchard. "Shortly after, she recognized that she has the talent, and she's progressed steadily through her hard work."
Caughron has been in the CHS top five for the last three years, and she's in her second year as captain of the Black Knights.
"It was a really great feeling to know other people on the team trusted me to be able to help them and to lead them in what they need to do," Caughron says of being chosen to be captain in her junior year. "It's just really nice to know that other people believe in you and believe that you are capable of being responsible for other people."
"Not only is it that she works hard, but she's always very supportive of her teammates, and they recognize that in her," adds Pritchard. "She continues to be one of the biggest supports that they have."
Caughron also plays lacrosse and started running cross country to get in shape. But she says her time on the course has helped bring balance to a very busy schedule.
"Running, I think it helps me focus a lot. It releases all the stress of the school day and then coming out here and it's so beautiful and I can just, I can get everything out."
There is plenty of stress and work in a typical school day for the CHS senior. This year alone, Caughron is taking five Advanced Placement classes.
"I take the AP courses because they're the courses that I want to take," she says. "I took AP European History in 10th grade because it was what interested me, and I was really excited to take the class and it was actually one of my most favorite classes so far."
When she’s not studying and running, Caughron plays first violin in the school’s string ensemble. She also volunteers with Runners to the Rescue, a group that helps maintain the Rivanna trails around Charlottesville.
"These are the trails I run on regularly, and so it's nice to know that they'll be there, and they'll be nice and pretty and beautiful, and know that I really did something to help other runners with it, too."