Saint John’s High School Cross Country History 1964-2016
The first Saint John's High School Cross Country Team took to the trails and fields around the Shrewsbury campus in the fall of 1964. Shrewsbury High School was Saint John's first Cross Country Opponent, the Pioneers won the inaugural meet defeating the 1962 State Champions and starting an intense rivalry that continues to this day. In that first season, Wachusett Regional High School of Holden, defeated the Pioneers by a score of 15 to 50, yet another great rivalry was born. In 1966 Doherty High School of Worcester opened its doors and the first athletic event in Doherty's history was a cross country meet with Saint John's, won by the Highlanders. Many opponents have come and gone over the years but these three traditional rivals provide a link to the past and a standard for all Pioneer Teams to measure themselves against. The inaugural group of Pioneer Thin-Clads compiled a record of five wins against three losses and established a winning tradition that has continued for fifty threeyears, only one team in the history of the program has failed to post a winning record.
Over the years the team has compiled eighteen undefeated seasons and a dual meet record of four hundred sixty one wins against seventy four losses and one tie,a winning percentage of .862.Saint John's Cross Country teams have won thirty eight conference championship meets and forty eight invitational meet titles including Wachusett, Kiwanis, Middlesex News, Catholic Memorial, Brown University, Massachusetts State Track Coaches Association, Wickham Park, Ocean State and the Manhattan College Eastern States Invitational. The teams have won twenty four MIAA Central Sectional Championships and made forty three appearances in the MIAA All State Meet where they finished as runners up in 1998, 1999, 2006 and 2015. Since 1968, when the MIAA adopted its current qualifying format, no other team in the state can claim more appearances in the state final than the Pioneers. In its fifty threeyear history, the Cross Country Team has won a total of five hundred seventy competitions, an average of more than ten per year.
Individually, thirty eight Pioneer harriers, including this year's champion, Matt Catarius '19, have won conference championships, twenty four have won invitational meet championships, including this year's captain Ben Kovacs '17 who won MSTCA Championships at the Twilight Invitational and the Bay State Invitational. Ten Pioneer Harriers have been crowned MIAA Central Sectional Champions including Christopher Georgules class of 1991 and Jonathan Green class of 2013 who won two titles each. Other Pioneer Sectional Champions were John Turpin 1975, Jeffrey Daoust 1987, Eric Burns 1992, Timothy Curran 1998, Jonathan Drappi 1999, Richard Downing 2000, Matthew Tieuli 2005 and Ben Kovacs in 2016.
Georgules won the Individual State Championship in1990 and Green captured back to back State Titles in 2011 and 2012. Green set all time records at the Gardner Golf Course, 13:50.8 for 2.9 miles and on Northfield Mountain's 5000 meter course at 15:29.7. Georgules placed fourth at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional Championship and advanced to the National Finals in San Diego as one of the top forty runners in the country. Green made two trips to San Diego, his second after finishing second in the Northeast to the eventual national champion, Edward Cheserek.
The long history of the sport of Cross Country at Saint John's High School is indeed defined by a tradition of excellence.