Aggie Valedictorian, Track Star to Attend CCC
CLARKSDALE – Ashley Craig competed in the state track meet in the high jump and triple jump as a senior for Coahoma Agricultural High School and was named the team MVP three times. Now, she will be taking her career to another level and competing with Coahoma Community College’s track team next season.
CCC will be returning to the track scene for the first time in more than two decades reinstituting its program for the 2014-15 school year. The Tigers are just one of three Mississippi junior colleges that have a track program.
Craig finished fifth in the high jump at state with a 4’8” and fifth in the triple jump with a 32’9”. She will continue doing those events for the Lady Tigers along with the 800-meter run, which she also did at Aggie.
“I love track and track is something I always wanted to do,” Craig said.
Craig chose to attend CCC because it was close to home and is excited about track being reborn for the Lady Tigers. She also has been impressed with changes that have been made since Dr. Valmadge Towner became the CCC President.
“It’s exciting,” Craig said. “They got new programs. They got stuff I want to do and what I want to major in.”
Craig plans to major in biology education and forensics, get her Ph.D. and be a forensic scientist in Mississippi, just like her mom, Jacqueline Ann Johnson.
Craig also played forward for the Aggie basketball team and track helped make her a success on the court.
“That’s what you basically doing in basketball, running up and down the court, jumping and everything,” Craig said. “Just the same thing I do in track, I do in basketball.”
Luster C. Tyler II was Craig’s basketball and track head coach and plans to watch her meets at CCC as much as time permits.
“I’m just proud of her,” Tyler said. “She’s always been a good kid and she actually does what she’s supposed to do. She’s the true definition of a student-athlete. When you have kids like that, you know they’re going to make it. It’s just a matter of what she’s going to make it in. If it wasn’t basketball, it would be track. If it wasn’t track, it would be something else because her academics are in line with how they should be so I’m just extremely proud of her and looking forward to be able to watch her compete at another level and possibly take it even further.”
Craig has overcome much athletically and worked hard academically to get to this point. She was the valedictorian for the class of 2014 for Aggie with a 4.0 GPA and spent much of her high school career recovering from injuries.
Through it all, she never lost sight of being a student first. She encouraged everyone to put their mind toward academics and never let it go.
“At first it was hard, but then I learned to adjust and it became a piece of cake after that, but you’ve got always keep education first,” Craig said.
The only year of Craig’s high school career she was not the team MVP was as a sophomore when she tore her ACL. Injuries also caused her to miss a lot of time in basketball.
She is using the summer to lift weights, stay strong and eat healthy to prepare for CCC.
“I run every morning and then I lift weights almost every day,” Craig said.
Craig credited her mom, her dad Glenn Giles, Tyler, Aggie co-head track coach and head boys basketball coach Michael Stringer and her teachers with preparing her for CCC.
“They’re basically the ones that helped me get ready for the real world,” Craig said.
“Aggie taught me a lot, not only education wise, but it taught me how to be a hard worker and it taught me a lot about family and friends.”
*story re-printed with permission of the Clarksdale Press Register, written by Sports Editor Josh Troy.