Cross Country Qualifies Full Slate for State
Jesuit cross country coach Rudy Horvath ’86 trusts his bench. He really, really trusts his bench.
Imagine it’s the final game of the regular season, with a post season playoff berth on the line. Would Jesuit basketball coach Chris Jennings ’78 rest his starters so they’d be in peak form for a playoff game that wasn’t guaranteed to happen? Would football coach Mark Songy start his back-up linemen?
But that’s exactly what Horvath did in the Region 3-5A cross country championships at City Park on Friday, Nov. 3. In a win or go home situation, Horvath sent out the equivalent of his second string into the 16-team field knowing full well the stakes–only the top eight teams would earn the right to send full seven-man squads to the state meet at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches on Nov. 14.
“Look, I don’t think of these guys as second string,” said Horvath. “They’re all battle-tested and tough as nails. The only difference between them and the top-tier guys is a few seconds here and there.”
Horvath’s confidence in his troops was rewarded with a solid 4th-place finish.
Brenner Rauch was first across the line with a time of 17:05 on the three-mile course, followed closely by fellow senior Chris Ross at 17:08. They were followed by senior Ryan Guillot (17:21) senior Peter Carr (17:26), sophomore Luke LaCour (17:30), and sophomore Cameron Cancienne (17:57).
Rauch and Ross both turned heads with their performances. Rauch shaved a full 35 seconds from his time at the 9-5A District championship on Oct. 25. Ross, meanwhile, bested the time he posted in his 7th-place overall finish at the Jack Schommer Invitational back on Oct. 21 by 27 seconds.
Horvath will announce his seven-man line-up for state soon. It’s a pretty safe bet that the five runners who posted sub 17-minute times at district are in. They are senior Jordan Tufts, freshman Jack Wallace, sophomore Brandon Hall, junior Harrison LeBlanc, and senior Michael Williams.
The two remaining spots will likely come down to a trio of seniors–Jonathan Arnold, Rauch and Ross.