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Lorentz named Coach of Year

River Falls High School head cross country coach Pat Lorentz has been named Wisconsin girls' District 1 Cross Country Coach of the Year by the Wisconsin Cross Country Coaches Association.

Lorentz received votes from other cross country coaches around the state to earn the honor. The 379 high school cross country teams in the state are broken down into seven districts, where each district is allowed one boys and one girls coach of the year.

Lorentz said he was honored to receive the award from his peers.

"I was incredibly moved by the acknowledgment," he said. "This award is probably the most meaningful award I have ever received. It is always nice to get praise, but to be recognized by my colleagues, the people who truly understand what it takes to coach a quality cross country program, is extremely touching."

Lorentz got his start coaching Nordic skiing at Hastings (Minn.) High School. During the summer of 2002 Lorentz joined the Minneapolis Ski Club coaching staff where he worked side-by-side with two-time U.S. Olympian Kevin Brochman.

In 2003 Lorentz took a coaching position with Minnesota Biathlon, working with current USBA president Piotr Bednarski. In the summer of 2004 Lorentz started his own summer ski training program lasting one year until he rejoined the Minneapolis Ski Club coaching staff again in 2005.

Lorentz served as assistant cross country coach at UW-River Falls from 2004-07. In the spring of 2007 he became the distance track coach at River Falls High School.

"I have had the pleasure of working with a number of programs and have coached alongside some great coaches," he said. "I have been very lucky and have taken bits and pieces of coaching from each experience."

The Wildcat girls won five invitational meets in 2009 -- the River Falls Extreme Meet, Menomonie Relays, Smiley (Wausau) Invite, Big River Conference Championships, and the WIAA Section 1 Championships.

The 2009 Wildcat girls became just the third team in River Falls history to qualify as a team to compete at the WIAA Division 1 State Cross Country Championships, where they finished in the top 10.