The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association recently announced that Ann Vogel is the recipient of Ohio's girls Coach of the Year award. Vogel's West Liberty-Salem squad capped off an excellent 2019 outdoor season by winning the team championship at the OHSAA State Championship meet. Among the many highlights during their two-day run in Columbus were victories in the 4x200 and 4x800 relays.
MileSplit tracked down Ann for her reaction to the news, as well as to learn more about her history with coaching in the sport --
"I've been coaching track and field and cross country at my alma mater, West Liberty-Salem for 27 years. This is my first state title and the first state title for any girls sport at our school. Last year, we qualified athletes for the state meet, but did not score. My brother, Butch Sower ran on two of the four WLS state cross country championship teams in 1976-77 and was an All-Ohioan in the 2 mile in track and field in 1977, so running has been a big part of my family. My daughter Meghan was a state champion in the 1600 in 2012."
"My coaching mentors include Larry Steider who was a long-time cross country and track and field coach at WLS, who now serves as a volunteer on our coaching staff, Linda Sparks, who was my youth softball and basketball coach, Ken Lehman, my first cross country coach at WLS and coach of four state champion cross country teams in the 70's, Ron Martin, long-time Caldwell high school and college coach at Heidelberg and Tiffin, Earl Zilles, my high school cross country and track distance coach, and most importantly, my dad, Maynard Sower who took me to watch girls sports at a young age and always encouraged and challenged me to always give my best."
"Receiving an award like this is truly humbling. Coaches who receive these kinds of accolades have always been coaches I've aspired to emulate. It recognizes our program and coaching staff, who are dedicated to the success of our team. Mandy Lauck has been my assistant coach for the past 10 years, and is such a big part of our team's success. Our other two assistant coaches, Hannah Ropp and Lauren Godwin are former athletes of mine and know the culture of the program and the standards we expect. I'm also blessed to coach student athletes who are committed to and take pride in our program. Our team showed so much resilience this year. They simply refused to lose."
Related Link -