Cross Country Competes in Three Meets in Four Days

Posted September 30, 2017 / Last updated October 3, 2017

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Senior Brenner Rauch (center) posted one of several strong performances for the cross country team during a stretch that saw the Jays compete in three meets over a four-day period.

Senior Brenner Rauch (center, #134) posted one of several strong performances for the cross country team during a Sept. 27-30 stretch that saw the Jays compete in three meets over a four-day period.

Jesuit’s cross country team went deep into the roster to compete in three meets during a four-day stretch from Sept. 27-30.

The Jays’ current Top Seven runners, fresh off a strong performance the previous week at the Gulf Coast Stampede in Penscaola, Florida, were rewarded with the coolest assignment of the week, a trip to Baton Rouge for the St. Joseph’s Invitational on Sept. 30.

“Coolest” is to be taken literally. The temperature for the  8:30 a.m. start on the Highland Park course in Baton Rouge was right around 70 degrees.

The Jays took advantage of the conditions to post some of their best times of the year—and their lives. Four Jesuit runners broke the tape for the three-mile course in under 17 minutes: senior Jordan Tufts (16:15, 13th overall), freshman Jack Wallace (16:28, 17th), senior Michael Williams (16:47, 30th), and senior Jonathan Arnold (16:59, 39th). Next across the line for Jesuit were senior Peter Carr (17:03, 42nd), senior Christopher Ross (17:15, 49th), and sophomore Brandon Hall (17:30, 50th).

“Jordan Tufts shaved more than 20 seconds off his PR (personal record),” noted Coach Rudy Horvath ’86. “I know that Jack Wallace and Jonathan Arnold also PRed, and if Michael Williams didn’t, then he was awfully close.”

Unfortunately, the strong times weren’t enough to bring home the team trophy. The Jays’ tally of 141 points was, however,  good enough for third place, behind champion Episcopal of Baton Rouge (48 points) and runner-up Catholic High (50 points).

Jesuit’s next men up, the runners currently slotted between 8-14 in the team pecking order, also got a chance to race in a high-profile meet on Sept. 30, the Allstate Sugar Bowl Cross Country Classic in City Park. But it came with a downside–a 10:45 start and a race time temperature of 80 degrees.

While the Top Seven got an up close and personal look at Division 1 rival Catholic High, the group who manned the fort locally raced against a host of other fully loaded squads–district rivals Brother Martin and Holy Cross along with defending state champion St. Paul’s among them.

Brother Martin boasted the top two overall finishers, but Holy Cross took five of the Top 16 slots to claim the team title with 47 points. St. Paul’s finished second with 58 points, followed by the Crusaders with 66. Jesuit claimed 5th place with 163 points.

The highlight of that race was a superb performance by Brenner Rauch. The senior made his case for breaking into the Top Seven with a solid outing, finishing 22nd overall in 17:17.

“He definitely gave me something to look at,” said Horvath. “That’s a strong time in some really difficult conditions.”

Following Rauch were senior Ryan Guillot (17:49), junior Harrison LeBlanc (17:57), sophomore Cameron Cancienne (18:01), sophomore Luke LaCour (18:16), and senior Jake Theriot (18:24).

Earlier in the week, in an impressive show of depth, Jesuit’s third-tier varsity runners managed to place second in the Newman Invitational at Audubon Park on Sept. 27. Jesuit finished with 90 points in that race, a mere 10 behind meet champion St. Martin’s Episcopal.

Senior Garrett Crumb paced the Jays, cracking the Top Ten individual finishers with a time of 17:58. Junior Scott McKeough and senior Clay Talbot placed in the Top 15, with times of 18:13 and 18:15. Rounding out the scoring for Jesuit were juniors Matthew Basile-DeJean and Gavin Skipper.