About the Author:
Stephen Sands, a high school English teacher, has shared his passion for reading and sports with students for 15 years. He lives in eastern Iowa with his wife, daughter, stepson, and the family dog. Sands, a former journalist, now teaches in the rural community of Durant, which also doubles as the setting for his first novel, The Final Leg.
The Final Leg is an Iowa sports tale for the generations. Ken Lincoln, a graying Durant High School track coach on the cusp of his first team title at the state track meet, must console his daughter, whose disappointing third leg of a pivotal relay has seemingly dashed any championship hopes for the Wildcats. As father and daughter watch the final leg of the relay, Ken tells the inspirational story of one of his first athletes, Jack Swanson, a star wide receiver for the Durant football team. In his senior season, Jack takes the blame for a team prank he did not commit. His thin-skinned football coach banishes Jack to the cross country team for a week where he bonds with Ken, who is trying to instill pride in a small group of runners often overlooked in the football-crazy school. Impressed with the new running coach, Jack decides to compete in both football and cross country that fall, a grueling combination for even the best athlete. Ken recalls that special season and the lessons he learned from Jack Swanson to restore the broken pride of his own daughter 25 years later. But don't count Durant out just yet because Jack's daughter is running the final leg!