Cross Country Sets Sights on State
A journey that began in the second week of June is down to its final days. Cross Country Head Coach Rudy Horvath ’86 is putting his squad through its final paces this week in preparation for the LHSAA State Championships in Natchitoches on Nov. 18.
The team will leave on Monday, Nov. 17, for a day which will include a test run of the course at Northwestern State University. Race time is 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday.
Horvath’s team is coming off its best performance of the year. At the District 9-5A Championship on Oct. 30, the Blue Jays out-dueled Brother Martin in a close contest to take home the title. At that meet, four Jesuit runners—seniors Patrick
LaCour and Matthews Vargas, along with junior Carlos Zervigon and sophomore Eli Sisung–broke the 16-minute barrier for the first time in their cross country careers.
Rounding out the seven-man squad for the state meet will be seniors Ben D’Antonio and Michael Schwing, along with junior John James.
So how does Horvath like his chances?
“Well, St. Paul’s is ranked ahead of us in the local rankings, and Catholic High may well be the best team in the state. And Brother Martin, as you saw at district, is neck and neck with us,” says Horvath.
“That said, we’re definitely in the hunt,” Horvath continues. “We’re probably not going to have an individual winner. We may not even have anyone in the top five or ten. But if our pack stays together and comes in around 16 minutes, we have a real chance.”
That chance is due to the scoring formula at cross country meets. The places earned by a team’s top five runners are added to compile its score, with the lowest team score winning the meet. So schools with one or two great runners may fall back in the team standings if its next three runners finish well back in the pack. And that’s where Jesuit’s depth can help.
“Our six and seventh runners won’t factor in our score,” says Horvath. But they can add several points to the score of our competitors if they come in ahead of their three, four, and five guys. And that can be a real difference maker. If we pull this thing off, it’ll be the power of the pack that makes the difference.”
Nola.com – New Orleans-area boys cross country rankings