Cross-Country Coach of the Year: Neal Garrison, Mahomet-Seymour

Cross-Country Coach of the Year: Neal Garrison, Mahomet-Seymour

Why he's Coach of the Year: After his Bulldogs dominated the Class 2A state meet last season for the program's first championship, they faced an uphill battle to repeat. M-S lost seniors Andrew Walmer, Brian Butcher, Ben Craw and Gabe Pommier from that victorious unit, but that couldn't stop the Bulldogs. They edged out Normal U-High by 23 points for a second straight state title behind top-10 individual finishes from Mathias Powell, Riley Fortune and Ryan Hodge.

Season highlights: "I really think it's the team coming together and winning state. I do think it was somewhat of a challenge because we lost a lot of stable guys. These (younger) guys had to step it up quick, and they did. I'm super proud that they did it, but it was tough, it was hard for them. They won the Charleston Invitational, the East Peoria Invitational, the Metamora Invitational, the Apollo Conference and they won sectional and state."

A few of my favorites ... Favorite foods: probably pizza and ice cream. ... First car: a 1973 Plymouth Roadrunner. ... Favorite non-sports hobby: spending time with my wife and my kid. We vacation a lot, and my wife and I walk with our dog. ... Favorite restaurant: It was Atlanta Bread, but they closed on me. Probably Noodles (and Company). ... Dream vacation destination: probably Venice. I've been there a couple times. ... Favorite sporting event you've attended live: I have gone to the 1984 and 1996 Olympics, and my family also went to the 2012 Olympic Trials out in Oregon. ... Favorite college sports team: Eastern Illinois cross-country. They have a nice bond. ... Favorite band/musician: I always say the Mahomet-Seymour marching band.

Three things on my bucket list: I'd like to travel to St. Petersburg, Russia, with my family, and probably travel with my family to two more places.

What I enjoy most about coaching: "The people. I enjoy my current runners, my past runners, the families and a lot of people who supported me along the way. Just the community. That's been the good part."