Head Coach: Dr. Matthew Child
Assistant Coach: Mr. Michael Hatty
Since its establishment nearly a decade ago, the Cross Country program at St. Mary’s Academy has offered a unique and formative challenge to the young men of the high school. Cross Country is unique because, in addition to its blend of teamwork, physical mastery and self-sacrifice (like any other sport), it places upon the shoulders of the individual athlete the sole responsibility of high-quality performance and subsequent success. Essentially, Cross Country combines the performance of the individual runner, unhampered by the opposition of another team but also unaided by any team members, with the efforts of the rest of the individual team runners and pits them against the opposition of several other teams. Each runner earns his place (and potentially a medal) through his individual performance. The team score is the sum of the individual runners’ places in the race; the lowest team score wins. Cross Country, both physically and mentally challenging in the extreme, conforms with the goals of St. Mary’s Academy by instilling in its athletes values of self-sacrifice, perseverance, and discipline; as well as physical mastery over self and indomitable will power.
This year, the outlook for the 2020-2021 team looked bleak at the start of the season. In addition to the loss of two very strong senior runners, a few talented underclassmen did not return, leaving the team as a whole raw, inexperienced, and very young. Tried by the crucible of training during the hot summer months however, the team hit the ground running in the fall. Led by a few varsity runners who consistently medaled in the first three meets, the team placed second at a hot race in Mission Valley and took a convincing first at Onaga just a few weeks later. Despite injuries and race cancellations, the team continued to improve throughout the rest of the season, finishing the year with an impressive performance in West Platte, Missouri. With not a few up and coming runners, dedicated coaches, and promise of a disciplined offseason, hopes are high for the future of SMA Cross Country.
~ by Blaise Schmitt, Captain [class of 2021]