CHS Cross Country: 2017 STATE CHAMPIONS!
The Catholic High cross country program’s reputation speaks for itself – 16 state championships and 10 state runner-ups, plus 50-year head coach Pete Boudreaux. Those numbers are enough to intimidate any 5A cross country coach around the state. But, if you polled the 5A state coaches across the state prior to the season, no one was intimidated by the Big Orange Wave and no one thought this team would challenge for a state championship.
The Wave started the year with few returners and a number of freshmen and sophomores on the roster. Untested and unproven upperclassmen dotted the roster but even Boudreaux had no idea what he was dealing with. “No one gave us a chance when the season began,” said Boudreaux. “No one was talking about the Catholic High program and definitely not about state championship aspirations.”
When the horn sounded to send runners off for the 5A championship, the Wave tossed youth and unproven to the curb and executed their race plan to perfection. “Our guys were fantastic in staying together as a pack throughout the first part of the race. There is something about that Big Orange Wave rolling forward to intimidate the opponent,” quipped Boudreaux.
Brother Martin’s hopes looked solid early by placing second and third individually, but the Wave responded and stayed ahead of the Crusaders’ next three runners. Collin Hedges was the first team member across the wire in seventh place in 16:05. James Lalonde, recently off an injury, finished 10th for the Bears in 16:13. Chris Cuntz (16th), Ben Langley (19th) and Joseph Ellis (25th) rounded out the top five scorers for CHS. Josh Durnin and Peter Kelly were the other starters for the Bears and were strategically vital for the team in wearing opposing runners down in the early stages of the race.
CHS scored 77 points to win the 5A state championship, besting its closest competitors Airline (105) and Brother Martin (125) by a comfortable margin. Holy Cross and Jesuit rounded out the top five with defending state champion, St. Paul’s, in sixth.
The title is the 47th state championship team coached by Pete Boudreaux at Catholic High, a mesmerizing achievement in any sport, but it is not just on the Hall of Fame coach. “Assistant Nick Minvielle has been a huge asset to the program and has an incredible bond with our runners,” commented Boudreaux. “He is as important as myself in coaching this team. His year round work with our runners has been phenomenal.” It is the first state title for CHS since 2011 in cross country.
The future is bright for the thin cladders at Catholic High. The starting seven at the state meet yesterday in Natchitoches returns six runners. There are many other underclassmen in the stable of runners for the Wave, so the target will be on the program’s back in the immediate future.