Girls' Track: Hewerdine COY
Why: For the 10th time in the last 16 years, the Hewerdine-coached Spartans won a sectional championship. Overall, in his 35 years as the SJ-O head coach, the Spartans have won 14 sectional titles and the school had a state placer for the fifth year in a row and the 30th time in the last 39 years.
Season evaluation: “The cold, windy and wet spring made for a challenging evaluation of my teams’ strengths and weaknesses. I was unable to test my athletes under meet conditions and had to make personnel decisions on what I thought was their best event. Even with the poor weather, two school records were accomplished (pole vaulter Loren Brooks and 300-meter hurdler Tori Master). The team came together at the end of the season and won three team championships: Lady Spartan Classic, Sangamon Valley Conference and Class 1A sectional,” — Hewerdine.
A few of my favorite things: Aaron Rodgers ... Green Bay Packers and St. Louis Cardinals ... Harley Davidson motorcycle ... Menards or Lowe’s ... “Mad Men” ... “Blind Side” ... The Hill in St. Louis ... First job was at Paxton Junior High ... Would like to visit Banff, Canada.
Three things on my bucket list: See the Calgary Stampede, visit New England states in the fall, watch Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field
About Coach Hewerdine: “Coach Hewey has been with the SJ-O girls’ track and field program for over 30 years, through rain, snow, sleet, hail, tornado warnings, wind, and, if lucky, a little sun. If that’s not dedication then I don’t know what is! One of the best feelings ever is having a coach that truly believes in you, and Coach Hewey believes in every member of our team. He encourages each athlete to set personal goals and be their own toughest opponent. His focus is on how each person can add to the team while improving themselves. He expects us to take responsibility to have all our gear for any kind of weather and bring healthy snacks, yet he double-checks on us and also brings us coolers of drinks and granola bars just in case one of us forgets. He teaches us we have to eat healthy, and we all laugh at his famous words passed down over the years like “once to the lips, straight to the hips!” That line doesn’t stop him from pulling into the Sidney Dairy Bar once in a while to reward a great team effort! Coach Hewey has a way of every year bringing us all together like a family and rebuilding a new team to represent SJ-O. We compete for each other, we cheer for each other and we push each other. Yet, he never loses sight of the important reason he and we are all there: our love for the sport. Track with Coach Hewey is a blast, and it gives us all some good memories to look back on. Gotta love Coach Hewey and SJ-O track and field,” — SJ-O sophomore Morgann Graham.