The season is still a little ways off, but the Saint Ignatius cross country program has its leaders set for the 2020 campaign.
Aidan Monroe and Peter Fitzpatrick have been named captains of the Cross Country Cats for next season.
The two rising seniors distinguished themselves in 2019 as juniors. Each showed initiative and plenty of running aptitude.
"These two are talented returning seniors. They demonstrated leadership as juniors," says the Wildcats' head coach, Dr. Michael Gallagher '71. "They organized workouts and stepped up when we needed them at the big meets."
Fitzpatrick showed plenty of promise as a junior on the varsity squad. The son of Pete '90 showcased the family clutch gene in the State Meet last November at National Trails Raceway. Fitzpatrick dashed to a great time of 16:39 to help guide the Wildcats to a ninth-place team in a packed field.
The Fairview Park native tallied an impressive personal record of 16:22 earlier in the season at the Tiffin Carnival Race, evidence of his hard work in the offseason. Earlier in his career as a freshman, he garnered the team's Most Valuable Freshman award.
Meanwhile, Monroe is just as talented. The Euclid native also thrived on the big stage at the State Meet last fall. Monroe clocked in at 16:55 to aid the Wildcats' effort on the big stage.
Monroe spent some time running with the JV Cats, where he did just as well. He notched a mark of 16:55 to help lead the squad at the Meet of Champions in impressive fashion.
Both Fitzpatrick and Monroe are very athletic. Fitzpatrick played basketball as a freshman and planned to run track this spring. Monroe lettered in volleyball as a sophomore and would have played a major role as a setter this spring.
"Monroe is a heck of a volleyball player, he's a great multi-sport athlete. He could play basketball or lacrosse too," Gallagher says. "Both guys are good natural athletes who will have the whole summer to train. In a runner, you look for part pitbull and part greyhound. You need tenacity, and the ability to kick it into high gear. Both of them have those abilities. They both have a lot of untapped potential."
And beyond ability, Fitzpatrick and Monroe have the attitude and mental makeup to improve.
Gallagher loves working with the two competitors.
"From a coaches standpoint, they're great to coach. They're very coachable," says Gallagher. "They are the kind of kids who you give directions to, and they'll give you more than you ask for. Aidan and Peter are classic Ignatius kids who will give you a great effort and outing, and always strive for the Magis."
Both are plenty smart, as well. Monroe earned Academic All-Ohio status after achieving a GPA over 4.0.
Fitzpatrick and Monroe are the perfect young men to lead a promising program into 2020.