Cathedral boys cross-country wins MAIS AAA state title

Published 11:22 pm Monday, November 7, 2016

Cathedral High School cross-country coach Tommy Smith had a hint at the start of the year his boys squad was on the precipice of a memorable season.

Fast-forward to the final day in October, and the six-year coach’s premonition turned to reality as the Green Wave won the MAIS AAA state championship.

“It was pretty emotional,” Smith said. “They all pick on me because I cry all the time when they do something great. If you can’t be happy and emotional about that, then what can you get happy about? It’s what makes it worth it.”

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Cathedral tallied a total of 42 points, outlasting Columbia Academy and St. Aloysius, which tallied 51 and 83 points, respectively.

Smith said it was by no accident that his team came away champions as they put in the necessary work throughout the offseason.

The Green Wave fell just short of being crowned state champions the year prior, narrowly falling to Kirk Academy, 63 points to 67.

“They felt like they let it slip through their hands last year,” Smith said. “I knew that was what sparked their desire.”

At the forefront of Cathedral’s championship day was Jalen McCoy.

Despite being hampered with a lower-leg injury, the junior runner managed to post a time of 17:52.91, nearly 45 seconds better than the second best time posted.

“It’s an awesome feeling,” McCoy said. “Especially for these guys. It’s just great. We’re like brothers and sisters. We’re a huge family. We play a lot, but we get the job done when it comes to crunch time.”

McCoy said his first-overall finish was extra special after having finished second in last year’s event. McCoy tallied a time of 17:56.93, but Kirk Academy’s Mathew O’Brien took home top overall honors with a time of 17:48.72.

This year the Cathedral standout left nothing to doubt.

“The feeling was great,” McCoy said. “Last year, since I was runner-up, that made me a little disappointed. This year, I finally won it, and I feel like LeBron James when he first won his title in Miami.”

But McCoy had plenty of help along the way as Cathedral received strong contributions throughout its roster.

Will Vaughan and Zehlin Cornett each posted top-10 times, while Cade Miller, Nic Waycaster, Ryan Skates and Cade Eidt all posted times strong enough for top-21 finishes.

For their efforts, McCoy, Vaughan and Cornett were named First- Team All-State performers.

On the girls side, the Lady Green Wave posted a fifth-place finish, with each runner posting their best time, Smith said.

“They all ran well, but like always at state, everyone is upping their game,” Smith said. “The girls ran really hard. We finished in a solid pack, after the first two teams.”

Smith said he expects Cathedral to remain title contenders again next year and the years to come as the Green Wave return every runner from this year’s championship squad.

“The roster is stacked all the way down and into the seventh grade,” he said. “We’re just full of talent. We’re hoping that this is going to carry on for a few years.”