Richmond Hill High School senior Amanda Elliott made her intention to run track and cross country at the Air Force Academy official Tuesday with a signing ceremony at the school’s media center.
She’ll spend one more spring running track for RHHS, then she’ll graduate and become a Falcon.
For Elliott, it’s the culmination of a dream she’s had since the sixth grade.
“It’s just everything the Air Force Academy stands for,” said Elliott, an aspiring doctor who also happens to be one of the top prep distance runners in Georgia.
Elliott has won three straight cross country region titles for the Wildcats and has top 10 finishes at the state meet. She’s also the track program’s top 1,600 and 800 runner.
But more than that, she’s also a leader, said RHHS track and cross country coach Levi Sybert.
“I’ve never had a better captain than her,” Sybert said. “I’ve never had a female captain before who can aspire and motivate guys, and she does it.”
Teammate Corey Jones, who placed fourth in the 2013 boys’ state class AAAAA meet, was among the dozens of students and teammates on hand at Tuesday’s ceremony to congratulate Elliott.
“She a great teammate,” he said. “She works hard, she’s always supportive and she’s very competitive. I really just like her attitude.”
Elliott’s parents, Ron and Sandra Elliott, are retired Army officers who also own Georgia Game Changers Running Company, a local shoe store that has played an active role in the community since it opened in 2012.
Ron Elliott thanked the school and its JROTC and track programs for the roles they played in helping his daughter get where she is today.
“As a family, we’re proud, but it wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for her coach and JROTC and leadership like that of Sgt. 1st Class (Charles) Blanks,” he said. “She’s a recipient of what the team and coaches and programs here have accomplished, and we want to thank them for what they’ve done for Amanda.”
It’s also an honor to have a child accepted to a military academy, he said.
“With Sandra and I both being retired Army officers, we kind of give her a hard time over choosing Air Force over Army, but the fact she’s going to serve her country and carry on where her mom and I have been, it’s a great honor and we’re happy about it,” he said.
Sandra Elliott said her daughter’s accomplishment shows what determination can achieve.
“For me, it’s just, ‘Wow, look at what God can do when you use the gifts you’ve been given, when you go for it and keep your eye on the ball,”’ she said.
Amanda Elliott, who is a triplet, is the first or her siblings to win an appointment to a military academy, but she isn’t necessarily the last.
Alexandra Elliott is also expecting to earn an appointment to the Naval Academy or to the Coast Guard Academy.