Girls Cross Country Coach of the Year
Recap: Phoenix Desert Vista and Phoenix Xavier Prep were the favorites to win the Division I championship at Cave Creek Golf Course, but Chandler shocked everyone by placing five girls in the top 18 and scoring 46 points for the title over runner-up Xavier Prep (51) and defending state champion Desert Vista (56). This was Lincoln’s second year as head coach. The year before he took over, Chandler finished last at its city meet and 12th out of 13 at the sectional meet. This team had an influx of talented freshmen with four among the top 53 in the state championships.
Coach Lincoln’s comments: “The whole group developed a great work ethic, and, once they won the Chandler Invite to start the year, everything just built from there. They won Ojo Rojo, won Doug Conley, came fourth at Twilight without the full team, then won city and sectionals. We didn’t even talk about winning state until after the sectional meet. They just looked so relaxed and controlled during that race. I knew if everything came together again the next week, winning the state meet was a realistic possibility. … Honestly, I didn’t really think we would win, but I knew we had an outside chance if we had some things go our way. I still can’t quite believe the girls actually pulled it off, though. … If you had told me before the season that we were going to be state champions, I probably would have laughed and said, ‘Yeah, right, maybe in a couple of years.’ It was sort of a dream season for these girls and hopefully an experience they’ll never forget.”