Recently, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced the state-by-state winners of its ninth annual High School Cross Country Coaches of the Year.
IL Boys USTFCCCA Coach of the Year
This award could not have happened to one of the nicest coaches in the state. Coach Jason Crowe has been at the helm of Plainfield South for well over a decade as the head coach. He has had some solid cross country teams over the years including the 2021 outfit that finished 7th in the mighty 3A classification with 253 points.
Many cross country experts and pundits picked the Cougars among the elite preseason teams including MileSplit IL.
Plainfield South redeemed itself this past fall by accomplishing its goal of winning the school's first state championship (first trophy too). The Cougars went undefeated in IHSA competition en route to a 88-89 victory over Hinsdale Central.
The season was not quite done after the state meet. Representing the Cougar Running Club during the post-season, this collective group finished second at the Midwest Team Cross Country Regional Championships. The ultimate prize was a trip to Portland, Oregon where they placed 13th with 335 points.
IL Girls USTFCCCA Coach of the Year
Pete Wintermute has always been a fine coach since taking over the helm at Mt. Prospect's Prospect High School. The Lady Knights have always achieved success in the distance realm, but never has the program been in a higher light.
Coming out of the Pandemic, the Knights were on the heels of defending 3A champion Elmhurst York despite losing 62-151.
2022 would be a different story against their friendly arch rival in which they battled frequently. The Knights steamrolled through the IHSA playoffs and won their first title at York's expense 39-58. It was perhaps the best overall performance from a team standpoint.
Prospect would go on to win the MW Team Cross Country Regional title and later represent the state at the highest level in Portland, Oregon. It was a fifth place finish against the very best in the nation at the Team Cross Country Nationals that will shine bright for many years to come.