NEW ORLEANS – Corning’s Ray Lawson was recently announced as the New York state boys high school coach of the year for a second straight season by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

One boys coach and one girls coach from each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia were honored for their successes during the fall of 2017, as selected by a committee of experts from around the nation.

“I’m very honored, it really reflects how consistent our boys have been and that they are buying into training that we do,” said Lawson.

Lawson was quick to spread recognition for the award to all other coaches in the Hawks program.

“It’s a team effort in that coach (Andrew) Cartwright coaches indoor and (Joe) Melanson coaches outdoor,” said Lawson. “I think the three of us work well together and have a consistent program. I get the credit which is nice, but there are a lot of people and parents involved in making us successful.”

State-by-state winners were selected based on their teams’ performances throughout the 2017 cross country season. Among the factors taken into consideration were team score and placement at the state championships, margin of victory, performance against rankings if available, individual championships, and how their teams’ performances stacked up to previous years (e.g. first title in school history, consecutive titles, etc.).

Lawson coached the Hawks to a Section IV title, a team State Title and a team trip to the Nike National Meet in Portland, Oregon. This marks the second time in two years that the Corning boys cross country team has taken home a state title and the first time a full team from Corning had qualified for Nationals.

Lawson will receive a trophy from the USTFCCCA recognizing his achievements and is also in consideration for the association’s National High School Cross Country Coach of the Year award. One boys coach and one girls coach from among all the states will be selected by a panel of experts and be announced later this month as the national winners, but he isn’t expecting to win the award.

“I think that’s still quite a reach, we did really well at nationals, so that’s really great for our program, but we finished 12th,” Lawson said. “That means there are 11 teams’ head coaches that deserve it more than I do.”

In light of the recent success, Lawson still has his sights set high for next year’s boys and girls cross country teams.

“We lose two seniors out of our top five, so we have to find guys to step up and have some guys step up,” said Lawson. “We have quite a few guys that have the talent. Our goal would be to try to qualify for nationals again for the boys and I’d love to see our girls qualify for states next year.”