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Cross-Country Coaches

Coach Mike Sullivan 

Cross-Country Coach Mike Sullivan

Now in his 15th year as head coach of the Skyhawk’s cross country program, Mike Sullivan continues to build a running program at Sauk with more than 30 years of cross country coaching experience to his credit. Coach Sullivan was nominated for the Women’s National 2015 Cross Country Coach of the Year. He also officiates area IHSA track meets each spring and was named the Honorary Referee for the 2016 IHSA State Meet

As head cross country coach at Sterling High School from 1972 to 1996 and again in 2001, he led his teams to six conference championships, two regional titles, one sectional title, an 8th place finish at State in 1984 and a 10th place finish in State in 1979.

One of his coaching philosophies is to bring athletes along at their own pace which helps avoid injury and discouragement. Sullivan says, “This philosophy has worked well for him coaching at Sauk” where he has had 58 Skyhawks qualify and compete at the NJCAA national meets.

Sullivan, who retired from Sterling High School in 2002 as a full-time instructor, served as Athletic Director from 1996-1999 and taught Cooperative Work Training from 1999-2002. He was previously an instructor of Auto Mechanics and Cooperative Work Training at the Whiteside Area Career Center from 1968-1996.

Sullivan holds a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Education from Southern Illinois University. He resides in Sterling with his wife, Pat. They have three grown children, five grandchildren and one great granddaughter.

Assistant Coach Nick Hartz

in his second season as an Assistant Coach for Cross Country, Nick Hartz looks to add his experience and knowledge to the very successful Cross Country program. Nick was an assistant cross country and head track coach at Bureau Valley High School and has helped guide multiple athletes to medal at the state meets. He is also a United STates Track and Field Level I certified coach and USATF Level II Coach in Endurance, Sprints, Hurdles, and Relays.

Nick is a 1996 graduate of Bureau Valley High School. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History from Monmouth College in 2000 abd a Master's of Education in Educational Psychology from the UIniversity of Illinois in 2007. He is currently a teacher at Bureau Valley North Junior High School.

Assistant Coach Mitch Saad

Assistant Coach Mitch Saad

In his first season as the assistant coach of the Skyhawks’ cross country team, Mitch Saad of Sterling looks to incorporate his athletic and coaching experience into the already successful running program. After competing in track and field for NJCAA Div. III Greenville College, Saad has coached track and field at the high school level for four seasons, taking several athletes to the state meet. He looks forward applying his understanding of running to Sauk Valley’s cross country program and increasing his knowledge of the sport.

Saad is a 2004 graduate of Erie High School, a 2008 graduate of Greenville College with a B.S. in Accounting and a B.S. in Business Management, and a 2009 graduate of John Brown University with an M.A. in Youth and Family Ministry. He is currently the Director of Youth Ministries at New Life Lutheran Church in Sterling. From 2010-2012 he coached track and field at Dunlap High School in Peoria before moving to Sterling and coaching at Rock Falls High School.