Jesuit back and running strong

Jesuit beats Southridge, but the Hawks are still pleased with their efforts
by: MILES VANCE, CRUISIN’ — Jesuit’s Katie Sullivan (left) and Adrienne McGuirk led their team to victory in last Wednesday’s Metro League cross country opener against Southridge at Greenway Park.


It ain't easy running against Jesuit's powerful cross country teams and everyone in the Metro League knows it.

Just the same, Southridge wasn't wholly disappointed

with its Metro-opening losses to the Crusaders at Greenway Park last week. Instead, the Skyhawks focused on their own development and the future of their program. Jesuit bested the Skyhawk boys 15-50 while the Crusader girls won by a 15-48 margin.

'I thought all our kids ran well,' said Southridge coach Doug Fischer. 'I felt they ran well and I feel that we have the potential to do that and to improve.'

That said, the defending Metro League champion Crusaders were their usual dominating selves last Wednesday, the Jesuit boys (1-0) sending across eight runners before Southridge's first and the Crusaders girls going 1-5 before the Skyhawks got on the board.

'We were pleased with (the) start to the season,' Jesuit coach Tom Rothenberger said. 'We felt good about our packing as a team.'

On the boys side, that 'packing' was particularly impressive, with Brian Manning pulling away from teammate Sam Larson for top honors with a finishing time of 16 minutes, 29 seconds. Larson's finishing time was 16:40, and he was followed by fellow Crusaders Peter Maag (third in 16:42.3), Tim Kessler (fourth in 16:50.2) and Jon Carley (fifth in 16:51.3).

'I felt good, relaxed,' Manning said. 'I had a little stomach problem earlier but I felt great and it was perfect conditions.'

And Manning was, like his coach, pleased to see how strong his team ran as a whole too.

'It was fun. Our coach decided for us to run as a pack for the first couple (kilometers) and then just get on the edge the last one,' he said. 'We wanted our first pack to be around 16.30-ish and finish under 16:50 and we were close to that.'

Southridge's boys (0-1), meanwhile, were led by Tom Semph and Michael T. Brown, who ran stride-for-stride most of the way and eventually finished ninth and 10th respectively, with Semph crossing in 17:16 and Brown in 17:17.

'Our coach said just to stay behind them and do your thing,' Semph said. 'Just run your race because they're going to be front-runners just like every year. You just want to stay behind them and use them for wind.'

The rest of the Skyhawks' varsity scorers included Kyle Schenone (11th in 17:58), Jordan Brock (12th in 17:59) and Kurtis Semph (13th in 18:27).

'I'm hoping for a seed at state,' Tom Semph added. 'I know we're a team that, if we get it together, we ca get there. And I think it's better that we got (Jesuit) out of the way. Now we're just going to count them off one by one, take care of them.'

In the girls' race, Jesuit (1-0) was just as dominant, sending across the day's top five finishers, eight of the top 10 and 11 of the first 13. Senior Katie Sullivan just edged teammate Adrienne McGuirk for first place, crossing the finish line in 19:32.0 with McGuirk close behind at 19:32.3.

'We wanted to take it out as a pack and run together and I think we did that,' Sullivan said. 'We wanted to run as a pack and have as many girls around 20 minutes as we could and we did.'

The rest of Jesuit's varsity scorers included Noelle VanRysselberghe (third in 19:45.0), Lauren Tehan (fourth in 19:56.0) and Theresa Makowski (fifth in 20:00.0).

'We want to keep what we did last year at the state meet which was to have a 9-second spread (from their first to fifth varsity finishers) so I think we're really looking to keep the depth of the team there,' Sullivan added. 'There's always individual good girls from all around the state but we're trying to work on our depth and the pack.'

For Southridge (0-1), senior Taylor Smiley showed her ability to run with Jesuit's best, battling her way through the Crusader pack most of the way before settling for sixth place in 20:08.

'I really just wanted to hang on to the very back side of their pack - I was surprised when I felt good enough that I was up there,' Smiley said. 'I pushed up into the middle and hung on for as long as I could and it really helped me. It felt surprising but really good.'

Perrin Considine crossed next for Southridge (ninth in 20:46), followed by Chelsey Gehrts (11th in 20:50), Breanne Whitlock (14th in 21:20) and Chloe Steinbeck (15th in 22:33).

'Our girls had a plan and we executed it,' Fischer said. 'We're going to try and do the same thing at district.'

'I'm really looking forward to this season. We have a really strong pack,' Smiley added. 'It's much deeper than it's ever been. It's our goal to get (to state). It's going to take a lot of hard work but everyone's willing to put it in.'