by Shivam Pandya ’24
The 2022 Cross Country season marked the beginning of a new era as Coach Bob Wolf ‘08 returned for his second season as head coach supported by a phenomenal assistant coaching staff of Sean Stefancin ‘08, Michael Strauss ‘87, Alicia Mayer, Dan True, Fr. Cyril Pinchak, and CJ Ambrosio ‘17.
Historically speaking, the Cats didn’t begin the year as a strong cross country team: John Corrigan ‘23 was the only returning varsity runner, and the team consisted of mostly underclassmen. Despite back-to-back top five finishes at the State Meet in the past two years, Coach Wolf had to change the expectation for the upcoming season. Instead of looking for victories, he looked to build a strong team culture: “I was looking for the team to start building camaraderie. I was looking for seniors like captains Ben Showman, John Corrigan, and Caleb DelaCruz to show the team how workouts should be run and what a varsity-caliber work ethic looks like.”
Despite an ever-changing varsity roster, the Cats took 4th place at the GlenOak Golden Eagle Invitational, 5th place at the Legends Meet at Trumbull County Fairgrounds, and 6th place at both the Mentor Cardinal Classic and the McQuaid Invitational. At the District Meet, a varsity team of John Corrigan, Maxwell Friedrich, Aiden Walter, Aidan Zielinski, Peter Spellacy, Brendan McGraw, and CJ Lyon brought home a 4th place finish and qualified for the Regional Meet, where they got 13th. Although the season ended earlier than expected, John Corrigan holds an optimistic outlook on the years to come: “The underclassmen this year did a great job rising to the occasion, which sets them up for a lot of success in the next two or three years. I think that with our coaching staff and depth of talent, we can do some big things in the future.”
Coach Wolf carries the same optimism: “Every week, they push themselves physically and mentally farther than they ever have before, and that’s hard to do. We have one of the closest-knit teams I’ve ever coached. Cross country’s not an easy sport, and relying on that bond that you have with your teammates and the team spirit we’ve created — that’s what’s going to set us up for success.”