Teresa Loos-Tedrow was so focused on getting Payson Seymour to the state volleyball tournament that she remembers the moment she allowed herself to enjoy the accomplishment.
She was frying a hamburger.
"You don't realize how much you miss competing until you're not competing any more," she said. "I've always wanted to go to state as a player. You know how when you do something and it triggers a memory? I don't know why, but when I cook hamburger on the stove, that memory is associated going to the state tournament.
"It sounds so stupid, but the other day when I cooked hamburger, I thought, ‘I can't wait to go to Redbird Arena.' Then I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh! We've already done it!"
Loos-Tedrow sheepishly grinned as she explained the correlation between hamburger, her mental focus and the state tournament, but she knew how important her team's mental focus was this season as it went 41-1 and won the Class 1A title. For that, she is The Herald-Whig's Coach of the Year.
When Payson Seymour lost last year in the regional to eventual Class 1A champion West Prairie, she knew her team was not mentally strong.
"After we won the first set and we were in position to win the second set, I remember sitting on the bench, taking a deep breath and thinking, ‘We've got this,'" Tedrow-Loos said. "And then we didn't have it. We were afraid to lose. Our mental training this year told us that you physically tighten up when you're afraid."
Loos-Tedrow researched the Internet and spoke with coaches and sports psychologists to create a program to help her team. The team put the balls away one night a week to spend two hours in mental training during the season. Team bonding activities were created.
Loos-Tedrow, who played in the 1980s when athletes were told to "suck it up" and "rub dirt on it," realizes her players might have rolled their eyes at new ideas.
"They didn't say it out loud, because I was so bought in and passionate about it," Loos-Tedrow said. "They knew they were talented, and they knew they were the most physical team in the state. But they also knew that since eighth grade, they hadn't had the success they felt they should have.
"They may have thought I was a little crazy."
As the victories piled up, the players saw how the mental training benefited.
"We weren't capable of bouncing back after we messed up (last year)," senior Josie Stanford said. "We weren't strong enough to not let it bother us. This year, we had no doubt in our mind."
Bonding moments like taking a charter bus to the state tournament, an afternoon at the mall in Bloomington and a bonfire the night before the state title game allowed the girls to enjoy the ride.
"It was a special season," Loos-Tedrow said. "Everybody was all in. Everybody wanted the same goal. I don't know if it worked because it was a special set of girls, and I don't know if I'll have to change next year.
"You won't remember the details. You just remember the feelings."
COACHES OF THE YEAR
2017--Teresa Loos-Tedrow, Payson Seymour
2016--Tim Kerr, Southeastern
2015--Kayla Hageman, Illini West
2014--Tim Kerr, Southeastern
2013--Dawn VanCamp, Liberty
2012--Amber Riefesel, Hannibal
2011--Rich Meyer, QND
2010--Caren Kemner, QND
2009--Rita Speckhart, Payson Seymour
2008--Barb Crist, QHS
2007--Leah Waters, Western
2006--Janet Kroencke, Payson Seymour
2005--Shannon Martin, Central
2004--Judy Melton, Warsaw
2003--Christine Stephens, QND
2002--Rich Meyer, Central
2001--Rhonda Jensen, QND
2000--Tim Kerr, Southeastern
1999--Mike Crist, QHS
1998--Rhonda Jensen, QND
1997--Rhonda Jensen, QND
1996--Linda Schreacke, Liberty
1995--Rosemary Brickman, Unity
1994--Mike Crist, QHS
1993--Bill Starkey, QND
1992--Diane Zimmerman, Pittsfifeld
1991--Rich Meyer, Central
1990--Jim Webb, Warsaw
1989--Mike Crist, QHS
1988--Rita Speckhart, Payson Seymour