Catholic cross-country trophies find new homes in Toledo

Catholic League newcomer Toledo St. Francis de Sales had a dominant performance during its first appearance in the Bishop Division finals. Coach Aaron Al-Sorghali’s Knights placed all seven of their runners among the top 17 and finished with a low score of 31 points. (Photo courtesy of the Catholic High School League)

MILFORD — Colin Murray had run in a couple Catholic League cross-country championships at Kensington Metropark before, but this one hit differently.

Murray, a Dearborn Divine Child junior, had the spotlight to himself. He wasn’t able to pace off of teammates such as Michael Hegarty, Nathan Ulcak or Elijah Jorgenson, who had all graduated from the 2022 championship squad. While doing so, Murray had to outrun several competitors he had never faced prior to Wednesday afternoon’s championship event, due to the expanded field that included Catholic schools from Toledo competing for the first time.

“The past two years, my teammates had always provided me with a guy to chase, and they knew where I should be,” Murray said. “Today, I knew I had to be there, and I just kind of went out there and ran my race.”

Murray took control midway through the 5-kilometer run — shortly before reaching the infamous hilly stretch of the Possum Hollow course — and won the race in 16:17.5. He finished 50 meters ahead of runner-up Sam Arquette from Toledo St. Francis de Sales (16:24.8).

“I was talking to one of the Ohio guys after the race and asked him if he had ever run this course and he said no,” Murray said. “That’s kind of brutal — trying to come out here and do what he did without ever running this course.”

Dearborn Divine Child junior Colin Murray was the individual champion, winning the five-kilometer race at Kensington Metropark’s Possum Hollow course on Oct. 11. (Photos courtesy of the Catholic High School League)
Dearborn Divine Child junior Colin Murray was the individual champion, winning the five-kilometer race at Kensington Metropark’s Possum Hollow course on Oct. 11. (Photos courtesy of the Catholic High School League)

Still, it was Arquette and his buddies who claimed the Bishop Division title. St. Francis grabbed five of the top 10 spots, and had all seven inside the top 20, as the Knights had a low winning score of 31. Arquette was followed by teammates Ethan Cope (fourth, 16:35.1), Colton Adolph (sixth, 16:54.8), Jameson Heck (ninth, 17:11.3), Kale Seymour (10th, 17:17.6), Grady Kling (11th, 17:23.9) and Wil White (17th, 17:55.7).

Detroit Catholic Central, led by Ryan Illikman (seventh, 16:55.3) and Drew Abbott (eighth, 17:00.3) was the runner-up team, scoring 63. Joining the Shamrocks in the top five were regular-season sectional champ University of Detroit Jesuit (80), Divine Child (134) and Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook (148).

Normally, the Catholic League Bishop Championship precedes the state regionals by a week. However, since the Ohio High School Athletic Association tournament also includes a district level, the CHSL schedule was adjusted to accommodate the new schools by moving the league finals earlier, and into the middle of the week.

“Yeah, I was a little upset, seeing the Catholic League meet was on a Wednesday this year, just being after school. It’s kind of tough waking up super-early and having a long day before the race, but I knew that everybody had to go through that, so we’re all in the same boat,” Murray said. “I’m still very happy with my time and with my race.”

Notre Dame Academy claims girls title

On the girls’ side, Toledo Notre Dame Academy was equally as dominant. The Eagles had six of the top 14 finishers, led by individual winner Natalie Chryst.

Chryst, a senior, didn’t take the lead until hitting the hilly stretch midway through the final mile.

Toledo Notre Dame Academy senior Natalie Chryst was the individual champion, winning the five-kilometer race at Kensington Metropark’s Possum Hollow course on Oct. 11. (Photos courtesy of the Catholic High School League)
Toledo Notre Dame Academy senior Natalie Chryst was the individual champion, winning the five-kilometer race at Kensington Metropark’s Possum Hollow course on Oct. 11. (Photos courtesy of the Catholic High School League)

“I had super-heavy legs. It was within 800 meters of the finish and I was still in third place. I barely started the hills and I was actually doubting myself — I wasn’t sure of the competition,” she said. “I could have just given up, but I saw a gap and trusted in my coaching and my capabilities and just went after it.

“One of my strengths is just taking off and going after it because I have quick foot-speed, so I just played to my strengths and knew that the rest of the course was downhill following that,” Chryst added. “I said this is my last regular-season race, and I just went after it. I closed the gap and I didn’t look back.”

Chryst’s winning time of 19:47.6 put her ahead of Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Mea D’Agostino (19:58.0) and Farmington Hills Mercy’s Nora Gerzema (20:00.3), whom she passed on the final ascent, but Chryst wasn’t the only Eagle on the awards stand.

Tessa Hoyt (fourth, 20:45.3), Lucile Kuh (fifth, 20:50.5), Violet Gies (eighth, 20:59.6) and Anna Hitts (12th, 21:11.5) combined to give Notre Dame Academy a low score of 30 points. Divine Child (63) was runner-up, followed in the top five by Toledo St. Ursula Academy (79), regular-season sectional winner Warren Regina (95) and Mercy (126).

Toledo Notre Dame Academy made its first trip to the Catholic League Bishop Division final meet worthwhile. The Eagles claimed the championship with a score of 30 points, with their first five runners placing among the top 12. (Photo courtesy of Notre Dame Academy)
Toledo Notre Dame Academy made its first trip to the Catholic League Bishop Division final meet worthwhile. The Eagles claimed the championship with a score of 30 points, with their first five runners placing among the top 12. (Photo courtesy of Notre Dame Academy)

“Our coach (Stephanie Egan) definitely prepared us,” Chryst said. “She tells us how it is, gets very realistic with how our standings should be. Going into this week, she told us we probably have a good chance to win. She told us about the hills and whatnot. They came and scouted the course last weekend. They knew what was coming, and we trained according to that for this past week.”

That’s only half the story for Catholic League cross-country this fall. The Cardinal Division championship field, consisting of the Catholic League’s 14 smallest-school teams, will square off for more CHSL titles on Friday, Oct. 20, at Willow Metropark near New Boston.



Share:
Print


AOD Massfinder-Article Bottom
Menu
Home
Subscribe
Search