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July 13, 2021 — United States Coach of the Year, lacrosse nominees

The United States Coach of the Year Award is given to a head coach or co-head coaches who made a noticeable difference in the performance of a scholastic lacrosse team in a particular season. The coaching performance is not limited to progress made in the year which the award is given.

Here are this year’s nominees:

Thomas Brandel, Sykesville Liberty (Md.): Got the Lions to their first state championship appearance since 2001 and won the Class 1A state final over Fallston (Md.)

John Dwyer, Wilmette Loyola Academy (Ill.): Coming out of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Ramblers may have had their best team ever, winning all 25 games on their schedule

Kristina Gagnon, Brooklandville St. Paul’s (Md.): The Gators not only won the IAAM “A” title in 2021, but also beat rival McDonogh twice, which is a remarkable feat

Kristin Igoe Guarino, Franklin (Mass.): The former U.S. women’s national team player coached her Franklin side to within one win of a state championship

Ashley Inman, Poway (Calif.): The former Oregon star had a rough start to the 2021 season, losing three of four, but had a memorable late-season run through the CIF San Diego Open Tournament

Ron LaFrance, Fort Covington Salmon River (N.Y.): The coach, who doubles as Chief of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, has been not only able to get the most out of the Shamrocks in 2021, but also steered them to a Section X championship

Dana Lenneper, Tinton Falls Trinity Hill (N.J.): Has taken this program, which has only been around since 2014, to the state Non-Public “B” title, and fought a tremendous three-part battle with conference rival Rumson-Fair Haven

John McClain, Delray American Heritage (Fla.): Despite losing a one-in-a-lifetime player to graduation, the Stallions were able to win the state championship, beating a number of amazing teams along the way

Carol Rose, Northport (N.Y.): Despite the weight of expectations and a tough county schedule, the team went undefeated and won the Long Island Class “A” title

Rachel Sanford, Aurora Evergreen (Colo.): Brought first girls’ lacrosse championship for any school in Jefferson County, bringing her vision into reality after a three-year journey

Gianna Spinelli, Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.): First-year head coach was able to motivate the Royals to a repeat performance as Tournament of Champions trophy-winners

Kristin Woods, New Canaan (Conn.): Playing a tough league schedule, the Rams defeated Darien (Conn.) twice in the regular season before losing in the state tournament, one which Darien would eventually win

The recipient will be announced July 27.

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