Aris, Soles Named National High School Cross Country Coaches of the Year

By Tyler Mayforth, USTFCCCA

February 3, 2016   

NEW ORLEANS — High school cross country coaches from each state — and the District of Columbia — were lauded for their work last month by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Two of those 102 coaches stood out more than the rest.

That’s why Bill Aris of Fayetteville-Manlius High School in New York and Doug Soles of Great Oak High School in California were named the 2015 National High School Cross Country Coaches of the Year on Wednesday.

This marks the second year in a row that Aris won the award, while this is Soles’ first such honor. Both of their teams — Aris’ girls and Soles’ boys — won team titles at the state and then national level this past season, which registers heavily in the minds of the National High School Coach of the Year selection committee when choosing the honorees.

Both men were selected as National Coaches of the Year from the pool of state-level winners that were announced in January.

To say Aris built a dynasty at Fayetteville-Manlius over the past decade would be an understatement. Since 2006, Aris’ girls have won 10 consecutive New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) championships and nine of the past 10 team titles at the Nike Cross Nationals, including the 2015 crown in Portland, Oregon.

During the 2015 NYSPHSAA Championships in Central Valley, New York, Aris relied upon a young team to bring home another team title. Freshman Claire Walters earned the individual win and was one of three underclassmen in the scoring lineup.

Then at NXN just a few weeks later, the Fayetteville-Manlius girls came up clutch again. The Hornets scored 55 points, the fewest points scored by a champion since 2012 when they (Fayetteville-Manlius) tallied 54.

Just like in New York, California doesn’t lack for competition — but Soles’ boys left them all in the dust.

During last November’s California Interscholastic Federation Championships, Great Oaks won its second consecutive state title (43 points) and set a Division I course record of 76:09. The Wolfpack put three runners in the top-10 and all five in the top-20.

The following month at NXN, Soles’ team became the first bunch from California to win the title since 2012. The Wolfpack, known as Temecula XC Club, sat in third place at the mile split, moved up to the lead at the two mile and held on for the win.

We’ll have much more on Aris and Soles in the upcoming week.