The Gazette 2016 Boys' Cross Country Coach of the Year: Adam Rich, Vanguard

December 6, 2016 Updated: December 6, 2016 at 9:31 pm
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Adam Rich stood at the finish line of the 2A state boys' cross country race, watching his Vanguard Coursers end one team's dynasty and hoping it was the start of their own.

Rich, who has been at Vanguard for four years - two as head coach - got emotional as the race closed.

"I thought of all the hard work the kids have put in, and the ups and downs of the season, and all of the people who supported the program," Rich said. "When you realize that your team has just won the state championship, it's one of those feelings you get to feel only every great while."

Rich is The Gazette Boys' Cross Country Coach of the Year. His team won the title with 53 points, 18 better than four-time defending state champion Lyons.

The Coursers were dominant, with four runners finishing in the top 13 - Grant Hughes was fifth, Harley Morgan was eighth, Nick Lovato was 11th and Andrew Briar was 13th.

"We had an extremely committed group of guys who knew what the end goal was and knew the importance of creating their own legacy," Rich said. "For this group of seniors, it was a legacy-defining moment to win a state title.

"These guys trained their butts off the whole season. They ran hard every day and reaped the benefits of that work. To be able to stop a five-peat is pretty special."

Rich had tasted success as a runner as part of the 2005 Western State team that won the NCAA Division II national title.

"I was part of a national championship-winning college team, but to coach a high school team to a state title is right up there with that," he said. "I was so happy for the kids, my assistant coach and all of the people who support Vanguard.

"It doesn't get much better than winning a state title and being named coach of the year in the same season. That's pretty significant to me, and it's an immense honor."

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