In just his third year at the helm of Central Heights cross country, Troy Prosser coached the Viking boys team to one of the best seasons in program history. Following a second place finish at the 3A state meet Oct. 28 at Rim Rock Farm, Prosser has been named Kansas Coach of the Year at the 3A high school boys level.
“Honestly, I was very surprised,” Prosser said. “I didn’t expect it at all. Obviously, I was thrilled and happy about it, probably happier for the kids and the school. I think it is an award that represents Central Heights more than anything. Without the kids on the team, there is no way that happens.”
The Vikings finished as state runner-up by just two points to champion Halstead. The team had two top 20 runners in Tyler Stevenson, who was 12th with a time of 17:10.6, and Kyle Cardin, who was 20th with a time of 17:24.2.
It was the Viking boys’ second consecutive state meet appearance.
The success that Central Heights runners have had boils down to keeping everything structured and maintaining focus, Prosser said.
“The main focus is commitment and sticking with the process,” he said. “I tell them that it is a long process, a long season, and that physically and mentally it will probably be one of the hardest things that they ever do in their life, but the goal really is to make them understand they can be successful in a lot of different ways. Whether that be the No. 1 runner overall, or the No. 5 runner or the No. 7 runner or whatever it is, every single thing they do plays an important part.”
As for the future, Prosser will return several runners from this year’s state team next cross country season. When it comes time to start the process again, that is what his team will do, he said.
“You can say it a million different ways, but for me every single year is the best year,” he noted. “I don’t want to compare this year to last year, or five years ago to 10 years from now. Every year is entirely different from top to bottom. Every year is just the best year there is because it is the only year there is. The ones that have past are already past, and the ones that haven’t come yet you can’t compare. Now is the only time you have.”