NEW ORLEANS - The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced Wednesday the state-by-state winners of its fourth annual High School Coach of the Year award for track & field.
Started in 2014, the award is bestowed to selected coaches based on a number of criteria: their teams' finishes at their respective state championships, the number of different events in which athletes were qualified, individual championships and how their teams' performances stack up to previous years, among other criteria.
One boys coach and one girls coach from each state - and the District of Columbia - is selected.Each honoree will receive a trophy from the USTFCCCA recognizing his or her achievements.
As a bonus, the winners from each state are now in consideration for the USTFCCCA's National High School Track & Field Coach of the Year Award. One boys coach and one girls coach will be chosen by a panel of experts and those names will be announced later this month.
Rick Spencer of Weddington coached the Warriors to a dominant performance at the NCHSAA 3A Outdoor State Championships scoring 68 points winning the meet by 33.5 points. Spencer and Weddington had an extremely impressive season getting it done in both the sprints and distance events despite graduating a ton of their stars the year before.
James Smoots took an extremely young Hillside squad and lead their girls program to a NCHSAA 4A Outdoor State Championship team title. Hillside scored 71 points with a big win in the 4x400 securing the team title over Southeast Raleigh as Hillside won by 6 points. Smoots coached individual state champions in Jessica Wright (300mH) and Kayla Beasley (Shot Put) as well as two dominant relays in sweeping both the 4x200 and 4x400. Hillside's 4x400 also were All-Americans at the national meet and they return their entire team.