Neither rain nor snow nor sleet nor hail, nor even mud could deter them. No, we’re not talking about the post office. We’re talking about members of the Episcopal cross country team. At one of the muddiest, wettest and coldest state championship meets in recent memory, the boys continued their streak by earning their 23rd straight state championship title. The Episcopal girls also came home with a state title of their own. To accomplish this, both squads had to face unpleasantness on the course.
Head Coach Claney Duplechin says in 35 years of coaching cross country he and his teams have faced seven or eight meets with very bad conditions, but nothing to the degree of what the teams faced on November 12th in Natchitoches. There was mud – deep, wet mud that refused to let go of the runners’ legs as they took each stride. It was cold – very cold, in the forties in Louisiana, cold. However, the Knights were undeterred. In fact, Coach Dupe says such conditions are actually ideal for his team. He says regardless of weather conditions practice must go on. “We’re running no matter what,” says Coach Dupe, emphasizing that sticking with a strict schedule allows the team to catch up, and eventually surpass, competitors.
The mud wasn’t the only thing that made the 2018 state meet special. The Episcopal girls went into the contest ranked behind a Menard team that defeated contenders by 100 points in late October. However, the Knights worked hard and believed they could finish strong. And they did, beating Menard by six points and bringing the title home. “That was one of my most enjoyable coaching times,” says Coach Dupe. He says there were happy tears among the runners as the boys and girls celebrated as one team - both champions. As Coach Dupe reflects on the long hours and hard work put in by the girls to make their dream a reality, he realizes that this muddy victory truly was special. “It’s just so fun when good people do win,” he says.
Coach Dupe says in the end it won’t be the winning that the athletes remember. “Getting to the winning – working hard to reach a goal,” are what Coach says will matter in the long run. That, and the friendships forged as they trudged through the mud and celebrated each other’s triumphs.
Congratulations 2018 Episcopal Cross Country team!
Go Knights! Good People! Have Fun! State Champs!