Track COY: SJ-O's Nic Haab
Why: Rookie head coach (whose father Dale is a former Prairie Central coach) guided the Spartans to a sectional championship, the second at the school in the past five years. SJ-O had a state placer for the 23rd time in the last 25 years.
Season evaluation: “The 2013 track season turned out to be a big success for the Spartans. As a first-year head coach, I did not know what to expect but was very pleased with how coachable and receptive the team was to me. With only six seniors on the team, we were a very young squad, but many of the underclassmen stepped up to fill the roles vacated by last year’s seniors. We were successful in several meets this season, winning the STM Invite, Spartan Classic, Clinton Carnival, Sangamon Valley Conference meet and the IHSA sectional. I think what was so special about our team is how well-rounded we were. We weren’t particularly loaded in any particular area or event; rather, we had guys contributing from the throws, jumps, sprints, distance, hurdles and pole vault. It was truly a team effort at every single meet, and I couldn’t be more proud of how these guys competed and carried on the winning tradition at St. Joseph-Ogden.” — Haab, who has been hired to teach and coach at Rockton Hononegah next school year.
A few of my favorite things: Tonja Buford-Bailey ... Illini ... Cole Johnson’s motorcycle ... Best Buy ... “Arrested Development” ... “Forrest Gump” ... Olive Garden ... Lifeguard ... Would like to visit Australia.
Three things on my bucket list: Build a house, marry Lolo Jones and coach an Olympian
About Coach Haab: “Being so young, Coach Haab was able to relate to the athletes easily. With his laid-back approach, there was never any unnecessary pressure put upon us. This eased the transition to a new coach, and our team succeeded with his coaching style. Before every meet, his message was simple: Compete to the best of your abilities and trust your training. After losing so much talent from last year’s team, his positive attitude and confidence motivated our team to exceed expectations for this season.” — SJ-O senior Drew Knipfer