Crusader Cross-Country is headed to the USCAA Nationals. In a stunning development, Christendom will send six runners to Virginia Beach this weekend to compete against some of the best runners in the nation, making the program, only in its first full year, a great success.
With the guidance of first-year head coach, Michael Stanislaw, the team quickly took on the challenge of training for invitationals at George Mason University and James Madison University this year, competing against the Virginia Military Institute, the Catholic University of America, and others over the course of the fall.
The men's team, led by Nationals qualifier junior Anthony Brooks, worked tirelessly throughout the year, surviving 30-40 mile practice weeks to collect victories over Gallaudet University, Potomac State College, and others, becoming a stronger team as a result.
For the Lady Crusaders, the end result was the same. Led by Nationals qualifier senior Xochitl Ortega, the team defeated Longwood University, the Catholic University of America, as well as Shenandoah University, Sweet Briar College, and others at a meet on September 1. For Ortega in particular, it was a stunning year, as she consistently jostled for position in meets against NCAA teams such as Navy and James Madison University.
At the Nationals this weekend, the best members of the team will compete against the best of the best from other schools on the biggest scale. For Ortega, Brooks, freshman Sarah Papp, sophomore Emily Farabaugh, senior Catherine Lyon, and junior Danielle Corcoran, this is the perfect ending for an incredible run. For Coach Stanislaw, simply seeing these athletes grow and mature so quickly on the field is an inspiration, and something he will carry with him going forward.
"It's been an awesome privilege for me, as a coach, to be a small part of this development in the students' lives here at Christendom. I see great things happening in the future with the addition of the Cross Country program here. These students, they have an authentic, passionate love of their Catholic faith, and they love running. I see a beautiful connection here, because both take a strong commitment and a lot of discipline to carry out properly. With this attitude, the student-athletes can grow and develop in mind, body, and spirit," says Stanislaw.