Cathedral boys win sixth straight cross country state title

Published 8:29 pm Monday, October 25, 2021

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CLINTON — Cathedral boys won their sixth straight MAIS 5A Cross Country Championship Monday afternoon at Choctaw Trails. Led by junior Barrett Burget, three Green Wave runners finished in the top 10, and five runners finished in the top 20. 

Burget was the highest placed runner for Cathedral as he came in fourth place at 18 minutes and 9.96 seconds. Alex Monagan and Landon French finished 9th and 10th. Head coach Tommy Smith said Burget ran a patient race.

“He knocked another six or seven seconds off of his best. He ran a smart race. One kid we were expecting to be there, and another who beat him at the state track meet, popped out of nowhere. I told him your word for today is patience, do not get caught up in that. He came past us at the mile in eighth place and finished fourth.”

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Monagan had a time of 19 minutes and 36.95 seconds, and French had a time of 19 minutes and 54.8 seconds in the 5K. He had the run of the day as he cut about 30 seconds off of his best time. Smith said he expected him to finish around 15th or 16th place.

Drew Thompson placed 13th at 20 minutes and 10.14 seconds, Jacob Moore placed 17th at 20 minutes and 31.95 seconds. Freshman Lehmann Novack finished 44th with a time of 21 minutes and 56.24 seconds. Sixth-grader Chase Gamberi finished 56th at 22 minutes and 57.07 seconds. 

“He has been pretty unbelievable,” Smith said. “He has been running with his mom since he was in fourth grade and started training with us. When they changed the ruling that we could have sixth graders participate, he fell into the spot. He has run some incredible times.” 

Cathedral took first place overall and beat out runners-up Silliman Institute 44 to 71. It was supposed to be a shootout between Silliman and Columbia, and Oak Forest could have been in the mix too.

“I haven’t had time to process it yet,” Smith said. “I’m shocked by how well the kids did. They exceeded the spreadsheet spread. We were supposed to have a 13 point lead, and we had a 27 point win. We had some good runs today. Everybody did well and exceeded what they were supposed to do.” 

Cathedral has the opportunity to run in the Mississippi Meet of Champions on Nov.13. It will feature the top 12 teams in Mississippi, six public schools, and six private schools cross country championships. It gives the Green Wave a chance to run against the best of the best. 

“All of them are awesome kids,” Smith said. “There have been a lot of guys before them who have laid the groundwork. For them to follow, I think we are at a point now where they revel in the fact they are in something bigger than their present team. They feel a responsibility to them. I have gotten a lot of texts and calls from those former runners praising my kids. It all comes together. It makes you realize the meaning of the sport. It goes well beyond high school.”