KINGWOOD — The applause was thunderous for Paul Martin and his daughter Allie Martin as the two Preston County cross country legends were recognized for their outstanding accomplishments at Monday’s Board of Education meeting.
The two were introduced by assistant superintendent Bradley Martin — brother of Paul and uncle to Allie — who listed off their credentials.
Paul was recognized as the 2021 National Federation of Coaches’ Association Coach of the Year for Girls’ Cross Country. He won the same award in 2019 for boys’ cross country.
Paul’s coaching career began in Taylor County, where he led Grafton to three AA cross county championships, Brad said. He came back to Preston County in 2003 and served as an assistant coach on the 2003 boys cross country championship team — the first team in Preston High history to win a state title. Paul also coached six additional state runner-up teams and two state champion teams in girls track.
He serves as the middle school winter and spring sports athletics director.
“Paul’s my brother, obviously,” Brad said. “He’s also been my son’s head coach for the last four years and honestly I would not want him coached by anyone else. He is truly an outstanding coach and works tirelessly for the betterment of his athletes and for the track and cross country programs he leads.”
Paul said the recently completed cross country season was filled with adversity with numerous athletes hurt and sick. He thanked the county for its respect and coordination saying it was a great place to work.
“Despite what’s going on with my daughter’s career moving to the collegiate level, my plan is to come back and get back on that podium one last time,” Paul said. “That’s my prerogative.”
Brad said he was proud to introduce Allie, a tremendous runner in West Virginia and Preston High School track and cross country standout.
Allie was named first team all-state cross country all four years of her high school career — one of only two PHS athletes to achieve that.
“Quite an accomplishment,” Brad said.
She is also a 2021 and three-time Big10 Conference girls cross country champion.
Like all athletes, Allie was robbed of her sophomore year spring season because of COVID, Brad said.
Most recently, Allie ran one of the fastest two mile times in the country for high school athletes and became the 24th female athlete in West Virginia history to run a sub 11 minutes two mile.
She plans to continue her running career in college and has offers from D1 and D2 schools including West Virginia University, Marshal and Penn State, Brad said.
Allie had no comment which board president Jack Keim noted was unusual for the family — bringing a round of deep laughter.