Tiya Chamberlin: Wheat Ridge To Air Force


Tiya Chamberlin's Best Marks

1,600 - 5:13.47

3,200 - 11:10

5k - 18:04


1) Talk about the recruitment process - what other schools were you looking at, and how did you come to choosing the Air Force Academy?

My college search began broadly. I became interested in 16 schools. Eventually I narrowed that down to 5 schools: The Air Force Academy, CU, the University of Portland, Central Arkansas, and Western Colorado. I really like Coach Michel at Western and I have known her my whole life. I enjoyed visiting Coach Jones at Arkansas. I liked the coaches and the program at Portland. I've admired and watched the CU program for a long time now, and coaches Wetmore and Burroughs are fantastic. I've had athletic history in Boulder and I went to a Spanish class at CU. I had never met Coach Cole or Coach Lindeman at Air Force, but when I visited them at the Academy they were amazing and inspiring. It didn't make it easier by meeting and knowing many of the athletes at all the schools I visited, because they were all fun people and remarkable runners. 

The whole process of deciding was very thrilling and difficult. There are so many great running programs, coaches, and university opportunities for high school seniors; we have an amazing country.

For many reasons, I decided to attend the Air Force Academy. Being appointed to Air Force is an extensive opportunity that isn't easy and I was very lucky and grateful to have it. I'm also very excited to be coached by Coach Cole and Coach Lindeman.

2) What do you plan to study at Air Force?

I am currently undecided about my major but I plan to take as many classes as possible in lieu of pre-medicine. I will probably designate Biology as my major because there isn't a titled pre-med degree. I will minor in Spanish.

3) You opened your MileSplit account eight years ago - a 14:14 3k, 69th place finish at the Horizon Runners Roost Invite, talk about what got you into cross country and track in the first place.

I was always mindful of running because of the prominent role it played in my family, but I played on the select soccer team of a competitive club and swam competitively year-round for most of my life. I sprinkled in a few Ironkid triathlons during the summers, but I never focused on running. I planned on joining cross country and track in high school for the experience, the competition, and the healthy social atmosphere. I've always loved racing. I didn't train my freshman year because I remained dedicated to soccer and swimming, but I had a lot of fun running the races. As I got older, soccer became less rewarding. I realized how much more I loved running and racing, so after my freshman year I dropped soccer in favor of running. I eventually dropped swimming too but that was more difficult to let go.

4) You've had success in everything from the 800 on over to the 5k, what would you say is your favorite event, and why? 

My favorite event is probably the 5k. I love all races, but due to many other commitments and activities, I haven't had much quality work focusing only on running. I love getting in a good rhythm and going for a long time. 

5) You ran 21:26 and finished 86th at State your freshmen year, dropped all the way to 5th your sophomore year, 12th your junior year, and 4th your senior year, talk about what you did to improve so drastically from your freshmen year, and what you did to remain so consistent throughout the remainder of your high school career.

I didn't train for cross country my freshman year. I stayed dedicated to soccer every day and I pretty much only ran in the cross country meets. The summer after my freshman year, I realized how much fun I had during cross country and track. I recognized my love for racing and my desire to ultimately be a better runner. I dropped soccer and swimming and that gave me more time, but I confess I didn't train great. I filled my plate with specialized performing choirs and music, AP courses, online courses, academic societies, volunteer work for the special needs citizens (dear to my heart), musical theater, and several other things that I didn't want to miss, or give up, during my high school years. I did maintain a very healthy diet, and I did as much training as possible. I ran during lunch hours and other odd times and tried hard to make it all work.

6) What event do you see yourself focusing on at Air Force?

I do not know if I have an event that I excel in, but I see myself focusing on longer events like the 10k.

7) Could you share any goals you had for the final weeks of the track season?

For many reasons, the season didn't go the way I was originally hoping it could, but for the last couple weeks, my goals were to run the best times possible, race well against my competitors, and medal at state. I am thankful and happy with how I concluded my high school career, and thankful for what cross country and track have given me. I'm really looking forward to the future and I'm excited to grow athletically. 

8) What would your favorite high school moment be (so far)?

I don't have a single favorite moment because I enjoyed and cherished all of my time in high school. However, one of the funniest and fondest memories I have is from a training run I did this winter. 

Because of time demanding musical rehearsals every day after school (usually from 3:00 to 8:00 or even 9:00), it's hard for me to do any winter training. I was trying to squeeze in a 40 to 45 minute run one day during my lunch hour and passing periods. The ground was covered with snow and ice. It was a little windy, but the temperature was not too bad, high 30s. In a rush, I was wearing only thin tights and a light shirt, nothing else.

Early in my run, a sudden blizzard came out of nowhere, in only a couple of minutes. The temperature dropped into the teens, and the wind and blowing snow became intense. It was hard to see which way to go. When I arrived back at the school, I was soaking wet, and encrusted in snow from my head to my toes. I looked like the abominable snow man.

My friends weren't sure who I was at first. My hands were frozen in one position. Long icicles were hanging from my eyebrows and hair. My face was vibrantly red, and I had only a few minutes to get to class on time. The staff members who saw me were laughing, amazed, and a bit worried. My friends were laughing, and they took pictures. They took me to the bathroom hand dryers and helped me dry off the best they could in the few minutes we had. They helped me quickly change clothing and we rushed off to class.

The whole thing was really funny, and very heartwarming from the care my friends gave me. That memory will always stay with me.