­­Gary Wartick, head coach of the Circle boys and girls cross country teams, won multiple awards following the Thunderbirds boys 4A state cross country championship this fall. Warwick was named 4A coach of the year by the Kansas Cross Country and Track & Field Coaches Association, as well as the US Track and Field coach of the year in Kansas.

The Circle girls cross country team has finished in the top 10 at the state meet in each of the last four years. The boys team has placed 7th or better in each of the last three years, finishing this season with the school’s first boys cross country state championship.

“To watch the boys come together as a team, put in miles of hard work and mentally focus on winning all season long was incredible,” said Wartick.

“It was rewarding for me to constantly find new talent and athletes that would tell me they can’t run distance and convince them they can, and watch them develop. So many have graduated and gone on to run in college and continue to run today. To hear from past runners on how thankful they are that I took an interest in them and helped them develop their running makes me proud and thankful I was a part of that. To me that is the greatest part of coaching.”