Folk named XC Coach of Year

SAM FOLK

BY SCOTT WALSH, Times-Shamrock Writer

Sam Folk kidded about how he wound up becoming the cross country coach atBlue Ridge.

“I made the mistake of saying in front of our school board president that I would do anything our school needed,” Folk said.

There was no mistaking the success the Raiders enjoyed under Folk this season.

Blue Ridgehad a 19-3 record to capture the Lackawanna League Class AA title. The Raiders also won the team title at the Lackawanna County Commissioners Invitational. And, they placed second in the Class AA standings at the District 2 Championships to qualify as a team for the PIAA Championships in Hershey.

In addition, Lady Raiders freshman Casey Purdum qualified for the state meet as an individual.

Folk has been chosen The Times-Tribune All-Region Cross Country Coach of the Year.

“It’s been glorious. I’ve loved every minute of it,” Folk said of this season. “I’ve been a coach for 16 years, but most of what I did was with 11-, 12-, 13-year-olds in football, basketball and baseball. But this is the most enjoyable time I’ve had.”

Folk took over atBlue Ridgefor longtime coach Tom Lewis, whom Folk said “has been such a role model to these guys for years.”

It was a tough act to follow, but several of the Raiders runners said the transition was seamless.

“I give full credit to our coach. It was hard for him, having never coached (cross country) before,” senior Mike Robbs said. “He didn’t make the sport so serious to the point that it wasn’t fun. Some coaches are like drill sergeants. But he was really lenient.

“If he wanted one thing in our workouts and we were used to doing another thing, he let us mix it together and make it our own little workout. That worked for us.”