Armenteros, Loy Named 2018 National High School T&F Coaches of the Year
NEW ORLEANS – It didn’t take long for Alex Armenteros and Tom Loy to know they were dealing with a special group of athletes during the 2018 outdoor track & field season.
Armenteros realized the young women he coached at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Florida were ready for greatness when they won the team title at the highly-competitive Louie Bing Classic hosted by Miami Northwestern High School to open the season in February.
Loy didn’t have to discuss the possibility of repeating as state champions with his young men from East Canton High School in Ohio, because they were already doing so amongst themselves before the bus had a chance to get warm to take them home from last year’s state meet.
It’s safe to say a coach’s intuition is usually right.
Armenteros and Loy watched their respective teams roll through the regular season on the way to state titles and by virtue of how their teams performed throughout the season and at those state meets, they were named National Boys and Girls High School Track & Field Coaches of the Year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Monday.
TRACK & FIELD COACHES OF THE YEAR
|YEAR||BOYS WINNER||GIRLS WINNER||STATES|
East Canton HS (Ohio)
St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.)
The Woodlands HS (Texas)
Lee’s Summit West (Mo.)
Catholic HS (Louisiana)
Bishop Kelly HS (Idaho)
Wayzata HS (Minnesota)
Northwestern HS (Fla.)
Hinds AHS (Mississippi)
Summit HS (Oregon)
“I am humbled and excited to win his award,” Armenteros said. “There are a lot of great coaches out there, so I’m sure the process is difficult choosing the National Coach of the Year. I give all of the credit to my assistant coaches, who do a wonderful job of staying on the same game plan and to the athletes, who work hard and are hungry for success.”
Armenteros, in his 12th year as head coach of the Raiders, led his team to an absolutely dominant run through the postseason on their way to their first state crown since 2015.
St. Thomas Aquinas won the FHSAA 4A District 13, FHSAA 4A Region 4 and FHSAA 4A crowns by an average margin of 125 points. The Raiders painted their masterpiece at the state meet, as they entered athletes of the 15 of the 17 events and totaled 116 points to win by 80, which is both the most points scored and largest margin of victory by a 4A champion since 2000.
“We compete in most of the competitive meets during the season to prepare us for the demands of state,” Armenteros said. “Most of my young women finish in the top-8 in those meets and that, to me, was a great indication that when we got to state, we would perform well.”
Loy wanted to keep the momentum rolling from the cross country season, where East Canton’s boys won the OHSAA D3 state championship for what was the third title in school history. After that happened, Loy brought his assistant coaches together to discuss the expectations for the upcoming season and the overall importance of the “team” aspect.
“Two former athletes work for me and they know how important relays are in my mind,” Loy said. “Not only are they exciting for fans to watch, they also prove how strong of a team you have – and that’s what makes it fun for me. Our goal should always be to make the podium in each of the four relays, because those points can go a long way in determining who wins the state title.”
After the Hornets won both the OHSAA DIII Northeast and OHSAA DIII Region 9 titles, they turned their attention to the state meet. East Canton knew it would be difficult to repeat, but they made it look so easy.
The Hornets scored 64 points, a total that had only eclipsed three times in the previous 10 years. Loy’s athletes captured two event titles (800 and 4×400), scored in nine others and stood on the podium in three of the four relays after a botched handoff kept them from it in the 4×100.
Every championship is special for a coach, but this one felt bittersweet for Loy.
“I was working retail at Champs Sports in Baton Rouge when I heard a position opened up at my alma mater. That was back in 1988,” said Loy, who graduated from East Canton High School. “I put my teaching degree to use and came back home. You don’t know it at the time, but if you trust your instinct, good things will happen.”
Armenteros and Loy will both be honored at the upcoming USTFCCCA Convention in San Antonio.