Chris Quick

(Head Coach 2005-Present, Assistant Coach 2001-2004)

The 2015 season marks my fifteenth with the Palatine boys team and is my eleventh as the official head coach. Since I started coaching in 2001, we have experienced success beyond our wildest dreams. We have been privileged to coach great citizens and athletes who have carried the team to ten MSL titles (2003 through 2012 consecutively), ten regional titles (2002-2005, 2007-2011, 2013), and seven sectional titles (2003-2004, 2006-2009, 2011).  We have also earned one state championship (2011), three second-place state trophies (2003, 2004, 2005), a third place trophy (2007), an incredible run that resulted in a fourth place finish (2010), two sixth place finishes (2006, 2009) and ninth (2012), 10th place (2008), and 14th place (2013) finishes.

In 2011 we finally got over the hump and won Palatine’s first state title behind a true team effort. What can I say? Peter Tomkiewicz, Anthony Gregorio, Marcus Garcia, Tim Johnson, Tim Meincke, Christian Zambrano, and Noah Brown – you guys made all my dreams come true. All seven of you are state champions. After state the boys went on to place 5th at the Nike Cross National meet while competing for the Palatine XC Club. I also had the good fortune to coach Steve Finley in 2005, who won the individual state title with an incredible lean at the wire. In track, I’ve helped Mat Smoody and Alec Bollman run to three total state championships in the 800 and 1600 meter runs.

I gained experience in the sport by serving as a four-year manager under Gary Wieneke at the University of Illinois. I also coached for two seasons at Moline High School with my father, Jeff Quick. After volunteering for two years, I took over as distance coach for the Palatine track team and remain in that role today.

In addition to my coaching duties, I teach AP English Language and Composition at Palatine, am constant in my devotion to my wife, kids, and the music band Phish, and need to find another hobby other than programming the cross country team Web site. Since 2003, I have improved my marathon PR from 3:05 to 2:58 to a 2:53.29. I also ran 2:57.58 in the 2006 Boston Marathon to place in the top thousand. For years I aspired to run under 2:50 and and stop winning 2nd place trophies and win 1st place trophies. Finally, I did both within a month – 2:49.37 in October 2011 and state champs in November 2011.

For the Quicks, running is a family affair! My father, Jeff, led the Moline Maroons and Geneseo Maple Leafs to six top 5 finishes at state, including a 3rd in 1988. He is a member of the Illinois Track and Cross Country Hall of Fame.

Alex Soto

(Assistant Coach 2013-Present)

Alex Soto rejoined the Palatine cross country team after a successful tenure at Eastern Illinois University.  Endorsed in physical education, health, and driver’s education, Alex brings a wealth of track and cross country knowledge to the program.  He ran collegiately for Eastern Illinois, focusing mainly on the 800 meter and 1500 meter runs.  As one of our All-Time Greats, it is a dream come true for both he and the program to be reunited.

Alex found his greatest success at Palatine High School on the track, earning All-State honors his junior year as a part of a 4 x 800 meter relay team that placed fifth in the IHSA State meet.  After sustaining a stress fracture to his foot during his senior track season, Alex returned within a month of the injury to qualify individually to state in the 800 meter run.  His 1:56.7 personal best from the 2006 IHSA Sectional still holds a place on our All-Time list.  As a cross country athlete, Alex was part of our 2003, 2004, and 2005 teams that all finished runner-up in the IHSA State finals.  He was a member of the Top 12 on the 2005 team that saw Steve Finley win the individual state title.

As a person Alex possesses high character and a driving passion for teaching and coaching young people.  He currently teaches health and physical education at Winston Campus Junior High while serving as the 8th grade boys head track coach.  In high school Alex established himself as a role model for young Latinos in our school, and he brings the same mission to Palatine High School and Winston Campus.  He was the first person in his family to graduate from both high school and college.

Former Head Coaches

Joe Johnson

(Head Coach 1965-1991)

Joe Johnson is the reason that generations of young men from Palatine have been able to experience cross country in particular and running in general on such a high level.  A true passionate soul, Joe Johnson molded both the traditions and the culture of our team.  He called his best men “All-Time Greats,” started The Auction, The Weekly Planet, Remember Whens…, Alibis…, and cheerleaders as managers, and left a legacy of success for all of us to follow.  Beginning with his first qualifying team in 1976, he guided 12 teams to the IHSA State meet.  Joe’s teams finished in the top six four times, and his 1980 team has never been bested in terms of average time in the state meet.

As a cross country and track coach, Joe shaped the legacies of more All-Time Greats than I can mention.  He coached the great Bill Bahnfleth to a 47.0 400 meter dash in 1967 along with two state titles, helped Mark Visk win the Two Mile run and set the state record, and guided his greatest talent, Chuck Bell, to second place in the Mile run as a sophomore.  Joe helped Fred Miller and then later Dave Kennedy to set the 800 meter school records in the 1970s before tutoring distance legends Tom Johnson, Lou Guerra, Andy Estes, and Bob Watson to All-State honors.  Bob Watson won the state cross country meet in 1989.

Outside of all the greatness and accolades, Joe made sure that running was fun and rewarding, and generations of Palatine runners owe him a debt of gratitude.  Coach Johnson brought a mix of intensity and fun that will continue to define our program for years to

Fred Miller

(Head Coach 1992-1993, 2001-2004  Assistant Coach 1994-2000, 2005-2009)

In 2006, Fred Miller was inducted into the Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame, following in the footsteps of his coach, Joe Johnson.  Fred has been a constant in the success of the Palatine boys cross country team.  In his two stints as head coach, the Pirates collected three state trophies (1993, 2003, 2004) as well as a 5th place finish (1992).  After the 2004 season, he stepped back into the role of assistant coach and led the Pirates to a 2nd place finish in 2005, a 6th place finish in 2006, and a 3rd place finish in 2007.

Fred also served as assistant during the 1994-2000 seasons under head coach Ron Theberge.  The duo of Theberge and Miller lead the team to a 5th place finish in 1995 as well as a 12th place finish in 1997.  Fred also enjoyed a long and successful tenure as boys track coach during the 1980s and 1990s.  He taught the adaptive physical education classes at Palatine.

Fred’s positive attitude and high expectations mix well with his emphasis that running has to be fun.  Fred continues to mold the cross country program in the image of his coach, Palatine legend Joe Johnson, and continues to be an integral part in a long line of Pirate success stories.

Ron Theberge

(Head Coach 1994-2000,  Assistant Coach 1993)

Ron Theberge began his coaching career at Palatine as an assistant to Fred Miller in 1992.  The two enjoyed considerable success those first two seasons, placing 5th and 2nd in the IHSA State meet while helping Jon Chermak to All-State honors as a sophomore.  Ron also served as the distance coach in track and guided Erik Dieckmann to a state championship in the 1600 meter run in the spring of 1994.  Dieckmann would go on to be NCAA Division III national champion while at North Central College.

Theberge took over as head cross country coach in 1994 and took the team to a 6th place finish in 1995 and a 12th place finish in 1997.  Under Ron’s leadership Jon Chermak placed 6th in the 1995 state meet while earning two top five finishes in the 1600 meter run in his junior and senior years.

The latter half of Ron’s tenure was defined by the dominance of another distance running prodigy – Tony Rakaric.  Tony ran to a 4th place state finish in cross country his senior year and recorded two All-State finishes in the 3200 meter run.  Tony placed 2nd in the state track meet his senior year, narrowly missing a state title, and went on to star at the University of Iowa.  Zach Somers also earned All-State honors in the 1600 meter run during Ron’s final season as distance coach.  Ron stepped down from the head coach position and his track assistant position to enact a successful tenure as girls head basketball coach.

Former Assistant Coaches

Matt Sheehan

(Assistant Coach 2010-2012, Volunteer Coach 2007-2009)

The 2009 season was Matt Sheehan’s third as a volunteer coach, and he took over as the assistant coach after Fred Miller’s retirement. Within three years we were hoisting the IHSA State championship trophy together. Matt’s hard work and commitment were vital to helping the 2011 IHSA State title team become a reality.

Matt quickly made himself an indispensable member of all of the teams he has worked with. While student teaching at Hersey, he volunteered with both the cross country and track teams, serving as a training partner for Kevin Havel who achieved an All-State finish in track. In 2006, he accepted a teaching job at Schaumburg and was a volunteer coach as that team won an IHSA Regional and placed 3rd in the IHSA State finals.

After coming to Palatine in 2007, Matt volunteered full-time for both the cross country and track teams. He coached the 2007 team which placed 3rd at the IHSA State meet. He took on a bigger role in 2008-2009 as we swept the MSL, IHSA Regional, and IHSA Sectional titles en route to 10th and 6th place state finishes. As official assistant in 2010, he helped guide us to an MSL Conference title as well as an IHSA Regional title and 4th place at the IHSA State meet.

Matt is a young coach full of energy and enthusiasm who teaches and coaches with great passion. He once ran 2:30 for the marathon and was responsible for planning and executing much of our varsity training. He also ran 2:42 or so in the Boston Marathon.

Ron Sloan