Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Photo Courtesy of St. Pius X High School
The St. Pius X High School boys and girls cross country teams and coaches are number one in Georgia for Class 4A after finishing first during the Nov. 1 state meet at Carrollton High School.

St. Pius X boys and girls wear state cross country crowns

By MICHAEL ALEXANDER, | Published November 14, 2019

CARROLLTON—St. Pius X High School boys’ cross country team won its second consecutive Class 4A state title during the Nov. 1 meet at Carrollton High School. It is the team’s eighth since 2010 and the 11th overall. Senior Chad DeWitt finished in third place with a time of 16:49.23 and junior Patrick McDonald placed ninth with a time of 17:10.61 to round out the meet’s top ten runners. As a team, the St. Pius boys averaged a course time of 17:08.40.

“We had a young team after graduating six of our top nine runners last year,” said Ryan McClay, the head coach who just completed his 11th season of coaching at St. Pius X. “We didn’t have any bad races throughout the season, so they were confident going into state. The boys were very excited as six of them won their very first state title.”

Last year’s state runner-up in Class 4A cross country among girls, St. Pius X, finally overcame what had appeared to be an impervious barrier at the state level. St. Pius X ended Marist School’s streak of 11 consecutive state championships to capture the 2019 state title. The cross country streak is the second longest sports streak at Marist School, behind the girls tennis team’s streak of 13 consecutive state championships (1994–2006).

It was a closely contested meet between three Catholic schools. The state champion, the state runner-up, Blessed Trinity High School, and the third-place winner, Marist School, finished with 46, 50 and 54 points, respectively. In cross country the lowest score wins. Each runner to cross the finish line receives the points that correspond to their place. For example, one point goes to the first place runner, two points to the second place runner, and so on.

In a very talented field, all seven St. Pius X runners finished in the top 25. With a time of 19:06.59, St. Pius X senior Morgan Vaden led the team with a fourth place finish. Her junior teammates Catherine Breault (19:15.16) finished in fifth place and Mary Brady (19:15.90) placed seventh.

The coaching staff said the team really worked hard all season, and they were focused on winning this year, so they’re thrilled with the win. Mary Pat Martin is St. Pius X’s head girls cross country coach. Although Martin has served as an assistant coach for the boys and girls cross country teams over the last four years, this is her first year as head coach.

Blessed Trinity junior Hannah Miniutti was the individual state winner after finishing in first place with a time of 18:51.49. Her sophomore teammate, Kelly Ann Sutterfield (18:57.90) was the second place winner.

Two Marist School seniors finished in the top 10. Kathleen Schellman (19:15.58) placed sixth and Nora Solomon (19:42.36) placed 10th.