Let’s Play Two: Cross Country Doubles Up on Saturday

Posted September 27, 2014 / Last updated October 1, 2014

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Freshman Jordan Tufts was one of several underclassmen to break the 18-minute barrier in the Newman Invitational.

Freshman Jordan Tufts was one of several underclassmen to break the 18-minute barrier in the Newman Invitational.

The Jesuit cross country team raced simultaneously in two meets in two states on Saturday morning.

Head Coach Rudy Horvath ’86 took his top ten varsity runners to Florida for the Gulf Coast Stampede at the Pensacola Equestrian Center. The Jays came ever so close to bringing home the first place trophy, finishing second with 118 points, just 12 points behind Fort Walton High School.

As always, Horvath’s squad ran as a pack, with a mere 11 seconds separating Jesuit’s first five runners. Senior Michael Schwing placed 17th overall in the talented field of 342 runners from 42 schools, posting a time 17:13 for the three-mile course. Rounding out the top five for the Jays were senior Matthews Vargas (17:16), junior John James (17:18), sophomore Eli Sisung (17:21) and senior Patrick Lacour (17:24). Also breaking the 18-minute barrier on the day were juniors Carlos Zervigon, Johnny LaForge and Nick Slay. Also running with the top ten in Pensacola were sophomore John Bell (18:08) and junior John Nimmo (18:15).

Meanwhile, back in New Orleans at Audubon Park, assistant coaches Scott Thompson and Nick Asprodites ’02 held down the fort while the team’s next 11 runners participated in the Newman Invitational.

Overcast skies, mild temperatures and a flat, dry course were a recipe for fast times, and the Jays didn’t disappoint. Senior Ben D’Antonio paced the Jays with a time of 17:41. Right behind him were sophomores Hayden Ricca (17:49) and Reed Meric (17:51), along with freshman Jordan Tufts (17:52).

Unfortunately, just about everyone was posting fast times. And the meet boasted several of the state’s top teams, most of which were at or near full strength. St. Paul’s ended up taking first place, while Jesuit finished a very respectable fourth.

The times for Ricca, Meric and Tufts were all personal records, a fact not lost on Thompson. “For freshman and sophomores to break the 18-minute barrier is a big deal,” said Thompson. “And there were some other underclassmen flirting with that number as well,” he continued, referring to sophomore John Kling (18:07) and freshman Patrick Schwing (18:09). “This really speaks well for the future of our program.”

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Nola.com – New Orleans-area boys cross country rankings: Jesuit’s 11-second pack is runner-up at Gulf Coast Stampede