Durant Lions cross country coach Amanda Reynolds was honored by the Oklahoma Coaches Association with the distinction of Regional Coach of the Year.
Reynolds was told about the honor in the spring, and the award was presented to her at the Coaches Clinic this summer in Tulsa.
“Oh my gosh, I was so excited,” said Reynolds. “This is a big award for a coach to win. I have only been coaching cross country for three years, so it’s an honor to be given this award so soon.”
Cross country is a program on the up rise for the Lions.
“We have been building a program here at Durant,” Reynolds said. “We went from just two kids at state, one boy and one girl, to having both our boys and girls teams make it to state in the last two years. Coach (Robert) Bokies won the award last year and this year I won it, so I think the state is seeing that we are really growing a cross country program in Durant.”
The cross country teams already have jumped out to a good start this season. The varsity boys, varsity girls and junior high boys squads all captured first place. The middle school girls team finished in second place at the Haworth Invitational at Idabel Country Club in the season opener.
“This year, we have some boys who have more of a commitment to the team,” Reynolds said. “We have a solid group of guys this year and its tough to pick a top seven. There are some boys right there on the bubble, that could go varsity at any time. And it is really the same for the girls this year. We are really stacked with the girls. They won their first-place trophy there (Haworth Invitational). We won first, second and third places. All seven of my varsity were in the top 11.”
Reynolds isn’t a sideline coach; she is a players coach. She puts on her running shoes and hits the trail along with players. And the team has respond well to this approach.
“I get out there and run with them, and they love that. The kids say to me, ‘When you get on to us, it doesn’t bother us as much. We know that you know where we are coming from, because you’ll get out here in the heat and run with us,’” Reynolds said with a grin.
With two coach-of-the-year award winners and players fully committed to the program, it looks like Durant cross country will see more accolades in the near future.
Reach Randy Bruce at (580) 634-2161 or on Twitter @SportsBruce.