Distance dominance for fighting Irish

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – It’s been a big year for Catholic High runners.

It all started Fall of 2015. Catholic won the Cross Country state title by 95 points.

“A margin of victory on a normal year might be 5, 10 points between first and second so 95 is pretty impressive,” said Track and Cross Country head coach Sean O’Neil.

In the Spring of 2016, Catholic took home it’s first ever Track State Championship.

“Our goal every year is to win state,” said senior long-distance runner Devin Sullivan.

Winning a state championship this past year proved to be a bit tougher after losing their top two athletes.

For the Cross Country Championship, just one point did it for the Fighting Irish.

“That might be my favorite moment so far in my running career,” said Catholic alum and distance-runner Georde Goodwyn.

Goodwyn is also committed to run for the Vols beginning this fall.

At this point, if you’re keeping score that’s championship number three for Catholic. The team was looking to make it four on the Track this past May.

There was one problem, they only had five athletes to compete with.

“We knew that we were going to have to just completely dominate the distance events. Georde ran four events, that means basically racing and warm ups and cool down, he’s running basically 10 miles during the meet,” said O’Neil. “That’s hard to do and still be competitive. You get to your 3rd race of the day and you’re going up against guys who are fresh, it’s their first race and you have to try to beat them.”

Sounds tough, but not for him.

“The first event is the  4×800 relay and we won that. And then the 1600 and he won that. In the 800 he came in seeded 6th or 7th in qualifying and he won that,” said O’Neil.

After 8 laps, Goodwyn had three medals around his neck. He still had one event left.

“I probably haven’t felt that tired before at a meet ever. And so I was like I don’t think I can win this,” said Goodwyn.

He ran in the race alongside two of his teammates, desperate for points.

“Hopefully we can just go 1, 2, 3 and I can get third,” said Goodwyn.

“He struggled from the start, but managed to pull out third and finish behind two of our other guys. We went 1, 2, 3 and that was what put us over the top and won it for us,” said O’Neil.

So, Catholic went back-to-back-to-back-to-back.

“Winning back to back titles in cross country and track, we couldn’t have asked for better,” said Tornstron.

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