By MICHAEL ALEXANDER, Staff Photographer | Published November 13, 2014
ATLANTA—Donning uniforms sponsored by the Atlanta Track Club, Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School’s cross country team participated in its first meet, the Golden Eagle Invitational, at the Nash Farm Battlefield, in Hampton, Oct. 25. The team is comprised of 30 student athletes with no prior cross country experience.
Members came together for an initial meeting Sept. 10 and then began practice runs through midtown Atlanta and Piedmont Park. The neophyte team also conducted its own internal meets on Tuesdays.
Cristo Rey opened on West Peachtree Street this fall with a freshman class of 160 students, who come from urban schools and have limited economic means. The Jesuit-led school offers academic rigor and required work at a sponsoring business or institution, which helps offset the cost of tuition. Students do not have to be Catholic to attend.
Next year, the school will officially be a part of either the Georgia High School Association or the Georgia Independent School Association. However, since the team was formed after the deadline to join an association, Cristo Rey was ineligible to participate fully with the other high school teams in the typical 5K (3.1 miles) race. Instead, they had to participate in the 3K (1.86 miles).
Despite the team’s inexperience, three of its members medaled. They included Cristo Rey boys captain Anthony Rustrian (10th place, 13:26); girls captain Julia Sanchez (14th place, 16:39); and teammate Tyler Wade (16th place, 14:03).
“With very little running experience on the first team, we should all be proud of our students’ hard work this season and support of each other,” said Marcia Pecot, head coach and science instructor.
The team plans to participate in fun runs and other activities for the rest of the year.