BOYS BASKETBALL COACH OF THE YEAR: STEVE MEDFORD — MARQUETTE
Medford coached the Marquette boys basketball team to an historic season this winter.
The Explorers set a school record in wins, won their first sectional title in program history and won three tournaments during the regular season.
Marquette finished 30-4 after losing to Mount Carmel in the Class 2A SIU Carbondale Super-Sectional. At one point of the season, the Explorers won 13 straight games.
Marquette began its season by winning the Metro East Lutheran Thanksgiving Turkey-Tip Off Classic. The Explorers also won the Freeburg-Columbia Holiday Tournament and the Sparta Tournament.
They won their sixth regional championship under Medford after beating Gibault in the Class 2A Gibault Regional title game. They defeated Nashville in the Class 2A Nashville Sectional title game.
Marquette got strong efforts from transfers Sammy Green and Jake Hall, junior Reagan Snider and sophomore Isaiah Ervin.
The Explorers also won the Prairie State Conference title with a 5-0 record.
GIRLS BASKETBALL COACH OF THE YEAR: JONATHAN DENNEY —CIVIC MEMORIAL
Denney enjoyed another outstanding season as CM girls basketball coach, guiding the Eagles to a 31-3 record with regional and sectional championships.
CM came within a whisker of qualifying for the state tournament for the first time, losing to Rochester 44-39 in the Class 3A University of Illinois-Springfield Super-Sectional.
The Eagles won their fifth straight regional championship and their second sectional title in school history. They also shared the Mississippi Valley Conference title with Highland at 9-1.
CM also tied a school record for most wins in a season. The Bethalto school also won 31 games in ‘13-14.
Denney now has 229 wins in his 11 seasons as CM coach. The Eagles have won 22 or more games six times during his tenure.
Senior Allie Troeckler, juniors Kaylee Eaton and Alaira Tyus and freshmen Kourtland Tyus and Anna Hall were the Eagles’ top players this season. All of them earned all-conference honors. Troeckler, who plans to play basketball at SIUE next year, received all-state awards from the Associated Press and Illinois Basketball Coaches Association and became the program’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder.
BOYS BOWLING COACH OF THE YEAR: TRENT MORGAN —CIVIC MEMORIAL
Trent Morgan’s first season as Civic Memorial boys bowling coach was a successful one.
He coached the Eagles to their second trip to the state tournament in program history and their first since 2015. CM qualified for state by placing fourth at the Collinsville Sectional on January 21. The Bethalto school placed second to Alton in the Alton Regional to qualify for sectionals.
Morgan replaced Shawn Callies as the Eagles’ coach. He has worked as a teacher at CM for 10 years and has been part of the school’s football coaching staff for 9.
The Eagles had strong bowlers such as Devin Davis, Gage Jeninings, Gordon Madrey and Zach Hagen. Davis bowled a 300 game against Waterloo and made it to the second day of the state tournament at St. Clair Bowl.
GIRLS BOWLING COACH OF THE YEAR: DAVE MEYER — ALTON
The Alton girls bowling team enjoyed a strong season in Dave Meyer’s first year as coach.
The Redbirds finished 10-6, qualified for sectionals, won the O’Fallon Invitational and finished second in the Alton Invitational. Their season ended with a 12th-place finish at the Belleville East Sectional.
Meyer replaced Jeff Woszczynski as Alton coach. He worked as an assistant for the Birds over the last 10 years.
Ashley Heistand, Alex Bergin, Claire Gorman, Elizabeth Hanke, Addison Beys and Paige Snyders were among the top bowlers for the Redbirds. Heistand led the team with a 211 average.
Alton won the O’Fallon Invitational by beating Collinsville in a Baker-style championship match. The Redbirds qualified for sectionals by finishing second to Collinsville in the Triad Regional on Feb. 4.
HOCKEY COACH OF THE YEAR: DEREK KAHL — BETHALTO
Kahl’s team came close of finishing with a .500 record this winter after competing in the MVCHA Class 1A championship series against Collinsville a year ago.
The Eagles finished 10-11-3 after losing their last eight games. They were 10-3-2 and were in first place in the league standings after Dec. 27 and scored 22 goals in their first two games of the season. Unfortunately, Bethalto cooled off down the stretch. Still, it was a good season.
O’Fallon proved to be the Eagles biggest obstacle. Bethalto lost to O’Fallon three times during its eight-game losing streak. The Panthers swept the Eagles in two games in the MVCHA 2A first-round playoffs.
Kahl sent eight players to the MVCHA 2A Red all-star team. They were Brenden Bollini, Jayden Kahl, Jacoby Robinson, Konnar Loewen, Anthony Russo, Joseph Watson, Nolan Kahl and Kyle Weslowski. Out of those eight players, only Wesolowski, a junior; and Nolan Kahl, a freshman, are returning next year.
Watson and Loewen found themselves in the points leaders for the MVCHA this season. Watson was second with 42 goals and 20 assists for 62 points. Loewen finished with 17 goals and 24 assists for 41 points, 10th best in the league offensively.
WRESTLING COACH OF THE YEAR: DAVE SOBOL — EA-WR
After 27 years coaching at East Alton-Wood River High in various roles, Sobol is hanging up his coaching duds. His final year directing the Oiler grapplers won’t soon be forgotten.
For the second straight season, EA-WR had a pair of state medalists as Drew Sobol placed fourth at 106 pounds and Zac Blasioli became the second state champion in program history, winning at 132 pounds. Sobol was fourth at 106 and Blasioli was second at 152 last season.
Last season was the first time the Oiler program had two state medalists in the same season, repeating that feat this year. EA-WR also had three state qualifiers for the second consecutive campaign, as Jon Wright also qualified at 285 pounds.
Coach Sobol gives a lot of credit to assistant coach Eric Huebner for the success of the program in 2016-17. Huebner spent a lot of time with Blasioli, building a close relationship with him and helping get him over the top to prevail atop the state stage. Huebner worked closely with all of the Oilers to steer them toward success.
EA-WR had five wrestlers advance to the sectional round of the postseason this year.