Ridgefield's Goetz named state Coach of the Year

Unbeaten in Connecticut this fall, the Ridgefield High girls cross country team and its runners reaped numerous awards. Now, the team's head coach is getting some love.

John Goetz, who guided the Tigers to a 15-0 regular-season record and first-place finishes at the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference, Class LL and State Open meets, was named Connecticut's top girls coach Wednesday, when the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced the state-by-state winners of its third annual High School Coach of the Year award for cross country.

Laddie Lawrence of Staples was chosen as the state's best boys cross country coach after leading the Wreckers to conference, Class LL, State Open, and New England championships.

One boys coach and one girls coach from each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia were honored for their successes during the fall 2016 season, as selected by a committee of experts from around the nation.

According to an USTFCCCA press release, state-by-state winners were selected based on their teams’ performances throughout the 2016 cross country season. Among the factors taken into consideration were team score and placement at the state championships, margin of victory, performance against rankings (if available), individual championships, and how their teams’ performances measured up to previous years (e.g. first title in school history, consecutive titles, etc.).

Each honoree will receive a trophy from the USTFCCCA recognizing his or her achievements.

The winners from each state are also in consideration for the association’s National High School Cross Country Coach of the Year award. One boys coach and one girls coach from among all the state winners will be selected by a panel of experts and be announced later this month as the national winners.

Notes: Ridgefield has won five FCIAC titles in Goetz's six seasons as head coach. The Tigers also won Class LL and State Open championships in both 2011 and 2012.

Goetz, who also coaches the Ridgefield High girls indoor and outdoor track teams, was previously selected as the FCIAC's overall Coach of the Year for the 2014-15 school year.