Coach shares honor with top athlete
When St. Croix Central cross country coach Bill Emery was named the District 1 Coach of the Year for the second straight season, he recognized that one other person deserved a share of the award.
Emery had nominated Central senior Liv Moll for District 1 Runner of the Year for the Wisconsin Cross Country Coaches Association after she won the championship at the WIAA Division 2 sectional meet this fall. When another runner received the award instead of Moll, Emery saw an opportunity to share his award.
Emery decided that he should share his Coach of the Year with Moll. Moll designed a new medal, which he cut out on a CNS plasma cutter, located in the high school STEM lab. He presented the award to Moll after the final day of school before the Christmas break in a team celebration. He made sure her parents, Bruce and Jo, could attend. Her older sister, Lauren, was back from college and also attended.
The only award that Moll received at the Panther awards celebration at the end of the season was the Coaches Award. Emery said he always gives the Runner of the Year award to someone who is a fourth, fifth or sixth runner on the team to emphasize their importance in the team's overall success. This year's winner was Moll's younger sister, Claire.
The Panther girls have qualified for the WIAA state championships each of the past two seasons, the first two trips to the state meet in the program's history. Moll was the team's lead runner for both of those trips to state and she's been instrumental in the team's success.
"It wasn't just her running, it was her runner-coach mentality," Emery said, saying Moll took on a great deal of the responsibility for the team. "She was there for everyone."
Emery credited Moll with leading the team's summer training program the past three summers, which led to the success in the program. The Panther boys also qualified for the state meet this fall.
"Every practice was important to her. That spoke big to me," Emery said.
Emery said Moll plans to compete in college and he looks forward to seeing how well she can compete in running a team filled with runners of her caliber.