As the fall athletic season winds to a close, the Spirit Committee recognizes the final three teams—men’s and women’s cross country, and football—this week before Senior Night Friday, Oct. 22 and the annual CJ Bonfire at Blue Green Field Tuesday, Oct. 26.
Despite only having 12 boys and 13 girls, runners on CJ's cross country program make up for their lack in numbers with an abundance of heart and tradition. The team began training for this season during the summer, using workouts and philosophies handed down to nearly every CJ runner since 1963 from the program’s founder and first coach, Brother John Gilfether.
Today, the men’s team is lead by coaches, and former CJ runners, Chuck Bridgman ’79, and Ken Spitzig ’75, with the women headed up by teacher Greg Mueller. Both teams are looking forward to competing in the district tournament this weekend after each finished third in the GCL North and GGCL Grey North All League meet October 16.
The close-knit group prepares for every weekend meet by loading up on carbohydrates at pasta parties hosted every Friday night at a teammates’ house, and CJ runners pray together before hitting the course each competition. Senior Rachel Collins said everyone is also responsible for supporting a running buddy. Running buddies provide each other with small snacks before meets and locker signs at school; however, the identity of team running buddies remains unknown until the end of the season.
“It’s nice to be honored and to know that your sport doesn’t go unrecognized,” she said. Collins and junior Mary Kate Carrigg are co-captains of the women’s team, while sophomore Sam Wittman and junior Sam Mullins are men’s captains.
“It was really an honor last year when I found out I was going to be captain,” Mullins said, adding that he is happy to take on the responsibility for his young team. There are only three seniors total in the entire program, and none on the men’s team, but Mullins said he is excited about this core group of strong, promising Eagle runners.
CJ harriers will have the opportunity to sport spirit shirts at school Friday, but they aren’t the only team being recognized this week. The varsity football team will also be donning the new blue and green tees before their game against Purcell Marian at 7:30 p.m. at West Carrollton Senior High School.
Spirit Committee is sponsoring a free pizza party in CJ's cafeteria for players, their families, and all students immediately following the game, but all senior athletes, band members, and their parents will be honored on the field during CJ’s Senior Night celebration at halftime of Friday's contest. The Eagles (0-5 GCL, 2-6 overall) look to land their first league-win against the Cavaliers before taking on rival Alter High School on October 29 in the final game of the season.