COACHES OF THE YEAR
FOOTBALL COACH OF THE YEAR:
JUSTIN WINSLOW — CM
Winslow’s fifth and final season at the helm of the Civic Memorial Eagles proved to be his best. The Eagles were 7-3 and qualified for the Class 4A playoffs for the first time since 2010. It marked the first time CM played host to a postseason game at Hauser Field since 2005. Unfortunately, the Eagles bowed out in the first round of the playoffs, 34-14, to the visiting Mater Dei Knights.
CM began the season on a tear, racing out to a 5-0 start. Its only two regular season losses were to Mississippi Valley Conference rivals Highland and Triad. The Eagles finished third in the MVC. Winslow resigned at the conclusion of the season and owns a 20-26 record (.435 winning percentage) in his five years.
BOYS’ SOCCER COACH OF THE YEAR:
JEREMY SANFILIPPO — MARQUETTE
In Marquette Catholic’s second season cast in Class 2A for the IHSA playoffs, Sanfilippo and his Explorers proved they were a force to be reckoned with. The Explorers bowed in the opening round of the playoffs in penalty kicks to the Jersey Panthers in 2014, but in ‘15 they advanced to the 2A Columbia Sectional finals.
Marquette was 14-7-3 on the season and gained traction once it hit the playoffs. The Explorers won the 2A Jacksonville Regional by not allowing a goal. They bested host Jacksonville 1-0 and then upended Chatham Glenwood 1-0 for the regional crown. Marquette then beat defending Class 1A state champion Columbia 2-1 in the 2A Columbia Sectional semis before ultimately running out of gas against Waterloo in the sectional title tilt, falling 7-0.
BOYS’ GOLF COACH OF THE YEAR:
PAT MOORE — MARQUETTE
Moore’s talented crew of linksters at Marquette Catholic enjoyed a special 2015 season. The Explorers compiled a 17-0 regular season dual record and won the Hickory Stick Tournament, the overall crown at the Madison County Tournament and won the Class 2A Marquette Regional championship at Rolling Hills Golf Course in Godfrey. They capped their tremendous season with a seventh-place finish at the Class 2A state tournament at Weibring Golf Course in Normal.
The most exciting part of it all is the entire roster was full of underclassmen, so Moore gets them all back in 2016.
GIRLS’ TENNIS COACH OF THE YEAR:
JIM CLAYWELL — MARQUETTE
For the second consecutive season Claywell garners AdVantage News Girls’ Tennis Coach of the Year for his work with the Marquette Catholic Explorers. The Explorers were 15-4 overall in 2015 in dual matches and tied with Jersey for second place at the Alton Sectional. Three Marquette players advanced to the state tournament with Shelby Jones finishing third in the singles flight at sectionals and Elena Gable and Laura Moore made it by placing fourth in the doubles flight.
The Explorers also secured the championship of the Riverbend Tournament hosted by Alton and bested the Redbirds and the Roxana Shells in big local bragging rights matches.
Claywell completed his 16th season at the helm of the Marquette girls’ tennis program. He has a career record of 201-62.
VOLLEYBALL COACH OF THE YEAR:
STACEY FERGUSON — ALTON
The Redbirds continued their winning ways with Ferguson at the helm this fall. They went 21-13-1 after posting a school-record 25 victories in 2014. Seniors Jada Green and Kailin Haug, plus junior Savannah Fisher, were among the leaders for a team that started the season 13-2.
“The girls worked very hard for each other and their hard work paid off throughout the season,” Ferguson said. “While we hit bumps along the way, the girls maintained the right attitude and work ethic to continue to better our team and program.”
She has served as the Redbirds’ coach since 2009, compiling a 135-103-5 record along the way. Alton has registered 21 or more wins three of the past four seasons.
GIRLS’ GOLF COACH OF THE YEAR:
DEB WALSH — MARQUETTE
It proved to be another banner season for the Explorers. Fifth-year head coach Walsh helped coordinate the team’s success.
Marquette went 19-5 and qualified for Class 1A IHSA sectional competition. They finished third in the Roxana Regional. The Explorers also claimed the small-school championship in the Madison County Meet.
“I am so very proud that the girls’ golf program has been so successful,” said Walsh, owner of a 71-18 career record in dual competition. “We worked together as a team and shared in all of the highs and lows this season. It’s all about trying our best and never giving up...no matter what stands in front of us.”
BOYS’ CROSS COUNTRY COACH OF THE YEAR:
RUSS COLONA — EA-WR
The Oilers made plenty of progression under the watch of Colona, the team’s head coach since 1990. They finished third in the Class 1A IHSA New Athens Regional and advanced to the Metro East Lutheran Sectional at SIUE.
That emerged as the highlight of their season since there’s no cross country competition in the Prairie State Conference.
“This team is a very young and hard-working one,” Colona said. “We had one junior, three sophomores and three juniors in our top seven runners. And I’m looking forward to working this group the next couple of years. I take pride in that we are competitive every year.”
GIRLS’ CROSS COUNTRY COACH OF THE YEAR:
SCOTT EDWARDS — ROXANA
There was another state berth awaiting the Shells, who advanced to Peoria for the third time in the last five years. They also qualified for the small-school state finals in 2011-12.
“The program is heading in the right direction,” said Edwards, the Roxana head coach since 2007. “This year, the girls worked so hard on prevention and they had a commitment to stay healthy. The kids knew going into the summer that we would have a great shot at going to state if we stayed healthy and we did that. Everything else just fell into place.”
Another season highlight was Roxana’s first-place finish in the small-school portion of the Madison County Meet.