SFDS Wins Big in CYO Diocesan Champions
The cross-country season came to a successful end for the St. Francis de Sales runners at the Diocesan Championship races on Sunday, October 30. Competing in six gender and age divisions, St. Francis runners won six team championship awards. Junior, Bantam and Novice Boys won Diocesan Championships. Second place silver medals for the Bantam and Novice Girls. Third place bronze medals for the Junior Girls.
The first race for St. Francis, the Junior Boys, exemplified the teamwork, discipline and desire of the runners. After winning his first two races of the season, an under the weather Steve Pulkoski lost in the Sectionals to Lawrence Robinson of St. Clement Pope. Coach John Edwards, employing a tactic that Kenyans Kip Keino and Ben Jipcho used to wear out Jim Ryan in the 1968 Olympics, instructed Conor Gallagher to start fast, take the lead and push the pace to take the starch out of Robinson’s legs. Just as Jipcho sacrificed his chance at an Olympic medal so that his teammate Kip Keino could win the gold, Conor was sacrificing his chance at placing in the top three so Steve could win.
The runners line up across the width of a soccer field, five abreast for each parish. The gun sounds and the runners race across the field, funneling onto a six-foot wide path that winds its way through the park to the finish. Conor sprinted across the field, taking the lead with Robinson right behind him as they headed into a series of hills. Steve wisely held back as Robinson pushed his way into the lead on the hills.
Cresting the final hill, Conor said, “Steve, I’m mad tired.” Steve urged him on. “Don’t worry, we have it.” Down the hill, Steve surged into the lead. Robinson tried to retake it but Steve surged again, holding him off. Conor stayed right behind Robinson, keeping the pressure on. Heading off the path and onto the field to the finish line, Steve began his finishing kick, extending his lead. But the surprise second place runner was Conor who sprinted past a rubber legged Robinson for the silver medal. Robinson barely held off St. Francis’s Joe Wolfer who placed fourth. Awesome performances in a fantastic race. With runners placing first, second and fourth, St. Francis’s Junior boys won the Diocesan Championship.
Congratulations to all the runners! They all ran fantastic. It was a great season! Thanks to Coach John Edwards for running the whole show. Special thanks to Steve Gifford, Jim Sluyk, Anthony Paparelli, Jim Lunny and Tom Buell for coaching the Novice and Bantam teams. Thanks to Debbie Gifford for the photos. Thanks to all the parents. Keep running!