SPS Cross Country Eyes State Despite Loss of Top 2016 Runner

St. Paul’s 2016 Cross Country team members enjoy the state championship award ceremony at Highland Park in Baton Rouge on Nov. 15, 2016. (Photo courtesy SPS Cross Country)

(COVINGTON, La.)  St. Paul’s Cross Country team has long been a force in the races. Last season, the team won the state championship with St. Paul’s alumnus Eric Coston placing first, and two other members, Jonathan Bertucci and Stephen Schlottmann, placing in the top 10 and being named All-State team members.

This season, the team still has plans to be a dominant force and shoot for another championship, despite the loss of last year’s top runner.

“I feel like the loss of seniors Eric Coston and Colin Sullivan are major effects of the team, but we have a lot of other members stepping up,” Bertucci said. “Lots of younger members, specifically, are stepping up.  A couple of sophomores are taking the responsibility and know what is needed for the team. The team is definitely different, but just as strong.The underclassmen have lots of room to develop and have us hoping to win state again.”

Another varsity member, junior Frankie Durio, believes the team will have a close brotherhood and strong relationship this season.

“We are making it a goal to bond this season and build a stronger relationship among each other,” Durio said. “There has always been a sense of brotherhood on the cross country team with all the members. We have always been there for each other. Physically, we take the practices very seriously, but we are still able to bond and gain friendships.”

The 2017 Cross Country team members take a moment to catch their breath after their first meet. The season began with the Episcopal High Round Table held at Highland Park in Baton Rouge on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2016.  (Photo by Daniel Wieseneck).

Durio also emphasized that the team is very motivated to be just as strong as they were last year.

“We are learning to discipline ourselves,” Durio said. “We have been focusing on pacing each other, and it gives us the ability to push each other to an ability we didn’t know we could reach. When the race is over, and we see the entire team put in their best efforts, it’s a really good feeling that the entire team has.”

St. Paul’s cross country have been practicing since July and continues to work hard to reach their goals. The returning members of the varsity team include senior Henry Elliot, senior Stephen Schlotman, junior Jonathan Bertucci, junior Frankie Durio, and junior Evan Hendry.

For the 2016 team schedule and scoreboard, click here. For more information on the St. Paul’s cross country team, visit la.milesplit.com.

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