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Cross Country Priory Invitational 2015 Recap

Coach Gleich writes...


While the new Jefferson City race caused several teams to bow out of our Invitational this year, that did not change Priory’s strategy to “race hard and finish strong.” Cool, overcast skies greeted the JV runners in their early race. With Anthony O’Sullivan and Greg Rolwes running with the Varsity squad due to missing members, and Andrew Latuda taking the SAT, freshmen and sophomores led the team off the line at the gun. Strong, but under control, the “red and blue sea” bided their time up the first hill and across the sports fields. Even at the 800 only two Priory runners—Joseph Pollnow and Jacob Conard—were in the top eight. The comfort with which our runners were running gave the coaches confidence that a move was about to be made. Between the 1200 and the 2400 on our course it is hard to follow the progress of our runners. By the time they emerged at the stop sign, Joseph had taken control of the race and Jacob was duking it out with two Duchesne runners and a JBS runner. Behind these five was a solid block of Priory athletes. Sophomores Koch, Frei and Steger were bunched with junior Chris Hedlesky and freshman John Krewet. Behind them was a huge squad of CBC runners who were pressing them as they headed down the church hill.

They were not the only Priory guys pushing the pace, though, as red and blue filled half of the top 35 spots. Andrew Evans, Liam Mardis, Jack Douthitt, Joe Mathis, Thomas Weiss, James O’Halloran, Will Koster and Logan Palliser were bunched within 30 seconds of each other, encouraging each other to carry the pace. Just like being in the woods, once you hit the “hill of death” on Mason Road the athletes are out of sight and remain hidden until they pop out of the snaky path at the Junior School. By that time Joseph had a 10 second lead on the field and Jacob was dueling with a Duchesne runner for second. Behind them the rest of our top seven had pushed into the top twelve spots. Brian Koch’s long strides carried our pack across the practice football field and past the eco trail. With Coach Muench leading the race in his “pace” car, Joseph and Jacob surged past the tennis courts out into the open in spots one and two. Though they were followed about 15 seconds back by the Duchesne and Burroughs runners, our pack had closed out the field by occupying five of the next seven places. It was a treat to see two freshmen leading the way, with both making it on the “Legends List” by running 19:25 (Joseph in first and a new PR) and 19:48 (Jacob in second). Priory took nine of the 20 medals and seven of the top twelve places. Those also medalling were: Brian Koch (6th 20:25), Robbie Frei (8th 20:33, PR), Chris Hedlesky (9th 20:38), Will Steger (11th 20:43), John Krewet (12th 20:44, PR), Dominic Kolthoff (15th 21:04, PR), and Andrew Evans (19th 21:29, PR). In all, Priory scored 24 points to easily outdistance CBC and Duchesne and also earned 23 new PR’s. Well done, Junior Varsity! You clearly ‘protected this house’ and ‘finished strong’.


Not to be outdone by the JV, our Varsity, consisting mostly of seniors, knew that this was their last chance to earn “Legend” status and move up on the All Time list. With Drew and Alex taking the SAT, we decided to go with seven rather than eight runners on the Varsity. The wind had picked up by race time and the temperature had risen to a mighty 53 degrees when the gun exploded. Jake went out hard, with CBC’s top runner on his heels and Thomas right behind. Following them, other Principia and CBC runners raced up the hill and across the sand capped soccer field. Not worried about the early pace, Luke, George and Kyle hung back just a little, while Anthony and Greg were about five seconds behind them. All seven of our runners were in the top fifteen as they hit the 1200-meter mark. 

We knew that the cool weather and overcast conditions would bring out the beast in our runners, and the coaches were not surprised when Jake, Thomas and CBC’s #1 runner hit the 2400-meter mark in just over 8:15. Good news for us was that Luke had pushed his way into fifth place and George and Kyle had both moved into the top eight as they passed the Abbey Church. At this point the CBC runner decided to move on Jake, passing him as they sped down the hill. That was a bad decision on his part though, as Thomas and Jake dissected him on Mason Hill. By the time they ran past the maintenance shed, Jake was #1, Thomas was #2 and Luke was #4. George and Kyle were two in back of them. Now we had our top five in the top eight places. Anthony and Greg were nearly neck and neck as they shot down and around onto the practice football field. Thomas used this part of our course to his advantage as he hung on to Jake and opened up the gap between 2 and 3 to almost 10 seconds. 

The trek up from the track makes our course much harder than most of those we race. That is good for the home team, since we can capitalize on this challenge. Doing so, Priory owned 5 of the top 6 spots by the time the runners passed the baseball diamond. Luke bridged our two packs and Anthony was closing in on Principia’s second runner. The race around the pond found our athletes with a home field advantage as the crowd cheered them on. Jake and Thomas kicked it home, finishing a clear 1 and 2 in 17:36 and 17:43. Those times placed them in the top ten All-time (since 1992) of our Legends list. They were followed quickly by Luke (4th in 18:13, top 20 All-time), George (5th in 18:37), and Kyle (6th in 18:42) both top 40 All-time. Not to be outdone, Anthony rocketed to the finish, passing Prin’s #2, taking 8th in 18:57. Greg made it a clean sweep in 11th with 19:13. Priory took 5 of the top 6 places and 7 of the top 11. We earned a near perfect score of 18 points, putting the hurt on the rest of the field. Only the class of 04 (eventual state champions) posted a composite effort that could equal what our Priory runners had achieved this day. Our “Finish Strong” motto is exactly what they did! Congratulations and special thanks to all the parents and teachers who made this day possible. You were marvelous!

“Listen carefully, my son, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart.”

Prologue, 1

“This is advice from a father who loves you; welcome it, and faithfully put it into practice.”

Prologue, 1

“First of all, every time you begin a good work, you must pray to him most earnestly to bring it to perfection.”

Prologue, 4

“If you desire true and eternal life, keep your tongue free from vicious talk and your lips from all deceit; turn away from evil and do good; let peace be your quest and aim. (Ps 33[34]:13)”

Prologue, 17

“Clothed then with faith and the performance of good works, let us set out on this way, with the Gospel for our guide, that we may deserve to see him who has called us to his kingdom (1 Thess 2:12).”

Prologue, 21

“If we wish to dwell in the tent of this kingdom, we will never arrive unless we run there by doing good deeds.”

Prologue, 22

“What is not possible to us by nature, let us ask the Lord to supply by the help of his grace.”

Prologue, 41

“Therefore, we intend to establish a school for the Lord’s service.”

Prologue, 45

“The good of all concerned, however, may prompt us to a little strictness in order to amend faults and to safeguard love.”

Prologue, 47

“The reason why we have said all should be called for counsel is that the Lord often reveals what is better to the younger.”

Chapter 3, 3

“Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way; the love of Christ must come before all else.”

Chapter 4, 20-21

“Never give a hollow greeting of peace or turn away when someone needs your love.” –Chapter 4, 25-26

“Bind yourself to no oath lest it prove false, but speak the truth with heart and tongue.”

Chapter 4, 27-28

“Place your hope in God alone.”

Chapter 4, 41

“Respect the elders and love the young.”

Chapter 4, 70-71

“Pray for your enemies out of love for Christ. “

Chapter 4, 72

“If you have a dispute with someone, make peace with him before the sun goes down.”

Chapter 4, 73

“The first step of humility is unhesitating obedience, which comes naturally to those who cherish Christ above all.”

Chapter 5, 1-2

“Speaking and teaching are the master’s task; the disciple is to be silent and listen.”

Chapter 6, 6

“The first step of humility, then, is that a man keeps the fear of God always before his eyes (PS 35[36]:2) and never forgets it.”

Chapter 7, 10

“Let us consider, then, how we ought to behave in the presence of God and his angels, and let us stand to sing the psalms in such a way that our minds are in harmony with our voices.”

Chapter 19, 6-7

“On arising for the Work of God, they will quietly encourage each other, for the sleepy like to make excuses.”

Chapter 22, 8

“Every age and level of understanding should receive appropriate treatment.”

Chapter 30, 1

“Above all, let him be humble. If goods are not available to meet a request, he will offer a kind word in reply, for it is written: A kind word is better than the best gift (Sir 18:17).”

Chapter 31, 13-14

“Let all the rest serve one another in love.”

Chapter 35, 6

“Indeed, nothing is to be preferred to the Work of God.”

Chapter 43, 3

“Idleness is the enemy of the soul. Therefore, the brothers should have specified periods for manual labor as well as for prayerful reading.”

Chapter 48, 1

“The life of a monk ought to be a continuous Lent.”

Chapter 49, 1

“All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say: I was a stranger and you welcomed me (Matt 25:35).”

Chapter 53, 1

“Proper honor must be shown to all, especially to those who share our faith (Gal 6:10) and to pilgrims.”

Chapter 53, 2

“(B)ecause wherever we may be, we are in the service of the same Lord and doing battle for the same King.”

Chapter 61, 10

They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other (Rom 12:10).”

Chapter 63, 17

“We wish this rule to be read often in the community, so that none of the brothers can offer the excuse of ignorance.”

Chapter 66, 8

“Trusting in God’s help, he must in love obey.”

Chapter 68, 5

Never to do another what you do not want done to yourself (Tob 4:16).”

Chapter 70, 7

“No one is to pursue what he judges better for himself, but instead, what he judges better for someone else.”

Chapter 72, 7

“Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may he bring us all together to everlasting life.”

Chapter 72, 11-12

“What page, what passage of the inspired books of the Old and New Testaments is not the truest of guides for human life?”

Chapter 73, 3

“What book of the holy catholic Fathers does not resoundingly summon us along the true way to reach the Creator?”

Chapter 73, 4


Saint Louis Abbey

Saint Louis Priory School

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St. Louis, MO 63141
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