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VanNyhuis named state Coach of the Year

Osakis track and field coach Lee VanNyhuis was recognized at the state level by the Minnesota State Track and Field Coaches Association when he was named the Class A Girls Track and Field Coach of the Year for 2013.

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“It’s pretty neat,” VanNyhuis said. “I look at it as more of a reflection of the girls in our program than just myself.”

VanNyhuis was presented with the award the weekend of February 1 at the Coaches Association’s annual conference in Bloomington. He guided the Osakis girls to plenty of milestones during the 2013 season.

“I guess how I’ve changed as coach over the years is I look now at track as being more of a team sport where our focus is trying to develop the entire group to do really well at conference and true team meets,” VanNyhuis said. “Then from that you tend to kind of have some success at the end of the year too.”

The Silverstreaks were the Prairie Conference champions and took third at the Class A state true team meet last spring. They then sent three relays to the state meet at Hamline University.

Osakis successfully defended its state title in the 4x400 while down there. The Silverstreaks were also runner-up in the 4x200 and finished sixth in the 4x100 event.

Osakis has become a fixture in relay events at the state meet by buying into that team-first approach. The Silverstreaks have sent at least one team there every season since 2008. Since then, they have one individual title and four relay state titles. The 4x400 team has won three of those.

VanNyhuis has won 13 Prairie Conference titles during his now 15-year coaching career with both the boys and girls programs.

“I’m not really big on individual accolades for myself,” he said. “But we’ve had really good assistants who do a great job, and the kids work really hard and buy into not just the individual glory but that team thing. It’s still a good award for our program too.”

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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