The CYO cross country program in the Wilmington Diocese, New Castle County, Delaware was started in 1989. St. Mary Magdalen was one of the original participating schools, witnessing the evolution of this program from a handful of schools with a total participation of about 50 children to 14 schools with about 320 participants by October, 1999.
I will attempt to chronicle some of the program's beginnings and early progression, hoping to capture some of the original excitement, and recalling some outstanding efforts by the participants, their coaches, schools and parents. Many of these runners went on to contribute solid performances in high school, and for some, in college.
At an organizational meeting, held 7/14/89, attended by representatives from several parish schools and the CYO, it was agreed to start a Fall cross country program, and that approval be sought to make it an official CYO sport. Approval was obtained a week later. Attendees at that first meeting were Joe McNesby (CYO), Lou Olivere and Greg Buczkowski (IHM), Dick Narvaez and Keith Trost (SMM), Jim Mauk (St. Thomas), and Jack Manlove (Ursuline).
Joe McNesby (CYO Athletic Program Coordinator) sent letters (on or about 7/24/89) to all Athletic Association Presidents inviting their parishes to participate and to send a coach to a planning meeting on 8/21/89.
As a result of both meetings, initial startup plans were defined. Some of the early guidelines were:
• There would be two levels - Varsity (7-8 grades) and JV (5-6 grades)
• Distances would be around 1 mile for JV, and around 2 miles for Varsity.
• A team would consist of a minimum of five runners. Parishes with only a few runners could combine with other parishes to form a joint team.
• Races would be held on Saturday mornings, starting around 9 AM.
• There would be a CYO Championship meet in late October.
• The JV level was to be a low stress introduction to the sport with no team scoring.
• Races were to be held at local parks and hosted by volunteer parishes.
• Courses were to have high visiblility so as to enhance safety and security.
A CYO meet schedule for the first year was developed and fulfilled. Additionally, interest among area running clubs and High Schools was stimulated leading to additional non-CYO, grade school/JHS races being sponsored.
This page last edited 6/23/01.