BC Excessive runners dash to glory, win nationwide relay title in Philadelphia


For about six seconds, as their baton bounced on the observe from a dropped handoff on the College of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Discipline in Philadelphia, it appeared as if BC Excessive’s 4-by-mile relay group could have misplaced out on a uncommon likelihood to take gold within the New Steadiness Nationals Out of doors meet on June 13.

However as an alternative, with a resilient effort from sophomore Greg McGrath and senior anchor Chris Larnard to make up the misplaced time, the Boston Jesuit Eagles – renamed from BC Excessive due to MIAA insurance policies – saved a 17:15.79 mark to win the varsity’s first nationwide title.

Junior Shamus Larnard led the pack on the primary leg and junior John Wilson got here round in third on the second leg, setting a powerful tone to finally beat a area of 60 certified groups.

Additionally they set all-time faculty, state and New England data within the occasion.

“It’s, I guess, just intense gratitude and appreciation (I feel),” mentioned BC Excessive cross nation and outside observe and area coach Seth Kirby. “Beyond being the most talented group, I just feel like they do this sport the way a coach would really want them to. … To say ‘We’re going to do this as a team and set records,’ and to know that it worked out, it just made me feel just intensely grateful to have this group of people I’m coaching.”

“When I crossed the line and realized that we’d won, it was just shock that we had actually done it,” Chris Larnard added. “Now that it’s set in, (I feel) just gratitude looking back over my entire high school career, how much I’ve grown as an athlete, how much I’ve grown as a person because of my teammates and coaches. Being able to do that with a group of guys that we did, it’s just gratitude that I can call myself a national champion now.”

The group didn’t deal with the feat as an expectation, however successful the occasion was definitely a lofty aim they felt was attainable if all the pieces of their management went completely.

But, it didn’t.

Youthful brother Shamus Larnard ran a 4:16.73 mile on the primary leg, and Wilson’s leg had BC Excessive nonetheless in an ideal place. The group practiced its handoffs a number of instances earlier than the occasion began, however McGrath and Wilson couldn’t cleanly execute theirs. McGrath dropped Wilson’s handoff, and as he went to select it up, he acquired trampled by the remainder of the sphere and dropped the baton once more.

“It was dramatic,” Kirby mentioned. “If the baton goes off the track, you’re disqualified. … He just gets run over, has to run back for the baton, and now we’re in fifth. Then there was a whole comeback thing.”

Chris Larnard was on the infield, watching it unfold. He didn’t see McGrath waver, nonetheless handing the baton off in 4:21.17 to maintain the Eagles in putting distance.

The College of Pennsylvania-bound senior took care of the remaining, shortly operating previous the runner in second and completed his mile in 4:10.46 to assist the group beat the highest seed by lower than a second (0.83) for the gold.

“I think that really lit a fire for (McGrath) and he was able to make a lot of it back and he gave me the baton (in third place),” Chris Larnard mentioned. “He didn’t choose to let it bring him down, he stayed positive and wasn’t discouraged or anything. So I kind of just took the same mentality into my leg.”

Usually in observe and area meets, relays come on the finish of the day after particular person observe occasions have wrapped up. However on this one, the 4-by-mile was on the primary day – which meant the Larnard brothers, Wilson and McGrath would wish to threat fatigue within the particular person occasions they certified for in the event that they determined to undergo with it.

Between developing wanting a title in cross nation collectively, and understanding their probabilities within the relay versus as people, all of them comfortably dedicated to the group.

Different packages didn’t, swapping out high runners whereas nonetheless liking their probabilities for a powerful consequence.

“For me, it was an easy decision just because it was my last race ever,” Chris Larnard mentioned. “I wanted it to be something special to end with, something to end with my team. … The other guys, they really made the ultimate sacrifice, giving up their individual races for me. I think it is because we didn’t get it in cross country and we know this is our last chance that the four of us will be together.”

“It says a lot about the character of our guys,” Kirby added. “This is like a college showcase. So they were kind of putting their one last stab at attracting D1 interest, they were willing to put that at risk to do what we did.”

BC Excessive competed in the identical occasion final yr, however Chris Larnard was the one runner left from that group. The 4 of them labored at all of it summer time collectively in hopes of reaching the stage once more.

“My sophomore year, no one from our team went to nationals,” Chris Larnard mentioned. “Even going to nationals was like a crazy big deal. So being able to not only go to nationals, but compete for a national title and ultimately win it, it just shows so much growth from our program. And a lot of people that have been a part of the program for many years, like alumni, they’ve kind of been reaching out. So, it’s been cool.”

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