All-Area Girls' Cross-Country Coach of Year: SJ-O's Kristin Allen

All-Area Girls' Cross-Country Coach of Year: SJ-O's Kristin Allen

Why she’s Coach of the Year: School’s second-year head coach directed the state-ranked Spartans to team titles in the Kickapoo Classic, the Paxton-Buckley-Loda Invitational, the Cumberland Invitational and the Peoria Heights Invitational. Regional and sectional runners-up, placed sixth in Class 1A at state, an improvement of four positions from 2012.

Season highlights: “The girls continued to demonstrate a chemistry that is amazing to watch. Each athlete demonstrated a selfless bond between each other and constantly fed off of each other’s accomplishments throughout the season,” Allen said.

A few of my favorites: Steak and potatoes ... Last text went to my husband, Jeremy ... First job was as a waitress/hostess ... Role model is anyone who accomplishes something good after going through adversity ... Dodge Charger ... Bob Schneider ... Favorite athlete from past, Ray Nitschke; favorite athlete, present, Tatyana McFadden ... Favorite book, “When Pride Still Mattered,” by David Maraniss ... Favorite TV show, “Elementary” ... If I weren’t teaching and coaching, I see myself owning my own fitness center ... Three things on my bucket list, travel to Ireland with my husband, write a children’s book and travel to Sweden.

About Coach Allen: “Coach Allen has been such an important person in my life the past two years. She is such an amazing coach and person because she pushes you harder than you ever thought was possible. She believes in you before you even begin to believe in yourself. I honestly don’t know what I would’ve done without her this season. As a senior, I was injured and pretty much knew that I was going to be out the whole year. It was very hard to take, and I was very upset. Each day Coach Allen gave me the strength to keep pushing. She is a special person, and I could never thank her enough for what she has done for me. She even made me a coach during the postseason. She has also made tremendous sacrifices for the cross-country program at St. Joe. She has a 1-year-old little girl and she is still there for us when we need her. She is a wonderful role model because she shows us that you can be a wonderful mom, teacher and coach at the same time. She loves her little girl to death, and I also couldn’t thank her enough for her time that she spends with us girls. She is a special coach because she is always pushing and cheering on every single girl on the team from the fastest to the slowest and everyone in between. She has taught me so many great lessons over these past two years, and it will be so hard to leave her next year. She always tells us girls that we can do anything and that we didn’t need her to accomplish our goals, but we really need her. She is a crucial part of the team, and she is what really holds us together.” — SJ-O senior Sara Melchior

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