From the Head Coach of the gifted and resilient 2016 Cat Pack, Dr. Mike Gallagher '71, and posted by Mr. Eddie Dwyer
Runners and parents,
Well, the 2016 season is in the books! This year's state championship meet was another burner. Nearly 40 runners broke 16:00!! The skies were clear. The temperature was a very runner friendly 55 degrees and the wind was barely enough to fill the windsocks at the adjacent Hebron municipal airport. FYI. Their web site listed "lots of Ag activity on the airport-spray planes and a spray helicopter!"
The field was expanded to twenty teams and 186 runners this year, so the early race would be chaotic and turns would favor the front runners. The start was reminiscent of coach Ed Eyestone's description. "It's like riding a horse in the middle of a buffalo stampede. It's a thrill to keep up, but if you don't you're nothing but hoof prints."
The gun went off precisely at 12:30 and it was game on. C.J. (Ambrosio) had a lot of company as the leaders hit the first mile in 4:42. The rest of the field was through by 5:15. With 800m to go, it was a still 10 man race!
Dustin Horter from Lakota East made the decisive move to put the competition away and finish in 15:02. C.J. opened the nitro tank and sprinted to a 4th place finish in 15:15! That set a new school record and secured his second all-state performance!!
Andrew Szendrey was a man on a mission. Smart pacing, even splits and a 65 second last 400 brought him in with a PR time of 15:59. Liam McGuire, all 120 lbs of sinew and muscle, pushed himself to a PR time of 16:29 for 55th place. Nick Saul bested his time from last year to finish in a PR of 16:31. Running like a veteran in his first state meet appearance, sophomore Andrew Biehl ran through the chute with a new PR in 16:41. Collin Kelly took advantage of his last XC meet to finish with a huge PR of 16:47! Colin Canigula was in the mix for 4000 m until the flu bug caught up with him, slowing him to a hard earned 18:17 time.
When the points were totaled, the Solon Comets were the victors with a miserly 79 points. The 'Cats scored 205 points to finish in 7th place in the 20-team field.
Congratulations to all seven runners for being named Cross Country Academic All Ohio!!!!!
Thanks to all the supporters and teammates who made the journey to support the team! The vocal and creative Wildcat fans (enlarged runner photos, banners and more) were "fan"tastic! Thanks to the parents who provided enough tailgate food to feed several teams. Namely, the irreplaceable Janet Nolan, Kelly Canigula, Emily Ambrosio, Amy Kelly and Cathy Szendrey. Thumbs up to Chris Ambrosio for manning the grill with the tasty brats and home made soup!
A couple of housekeeping items. Please turn in your singlets and shorts to Coach Voigt. Freshman to Coach Wolf. Washed please! The banquet for ALL team members will be on 11/21 at the Breen Center at 5:30pm. You should be getting an invite in the mail from the Athletic Office. Please RSVP as soon as possible.I would love to see everyone and their family attend!