Go Knights! Good People! Have Fun! State Champs!
This is the motto behind the legacy of the Episcopal Cross Country program. The motto must be working, with a current streak of 22 boys’ state championships!
This is the date circled on both the Cross Country boys’ and girls’ calendars. On this date, both squads will head to Natchitoches for the state meet. If history repeats itself, it should be a great day to be a Knight.
“This is one of the best teams I’ve ever coached here,” says Coach Duplechin of his boys’ squad, which is led by seniors Graham Frazier, Michael Lee and Kenny Schafer.
Winning state championships doesn’t just happen. Coach Dupe says these runners have invested a lot in the season displaying a tremendous work ethic as they strive to keep the streak going. November 13th will be the culmination of months of training and preparation. Coach Dupe says the group conducts summer practices in June followed by a boot camp in July. By the time the season starts in August the team is ready to run.
If lower grades are any indication of the future, it looks like the Episcopal legacy will continue. Coach Dupe says the Middle School runners are performing extremely well. The eighth grade and under division and the ninth grade and under division are both highly ranked this season. In addition, he says there is a strong group of juniors ready to take up the baton once the seniors graduate.
After coaching football and track and field, Coach Dupe says there’s just nothing like Cross Country. “You can see progression and can motivate them,” he says. “It’s very rewarding for me.” Coach says his philosophy is always to let runners know that he cares, but to expect something in return. With such a legacy, the return has been incredible.
November 13th is also a big day for the Episcopal girls’ Cross Country team. Coach Eddie Cole, who is in his 45th year of coaching, says the girls’ program is good and always getting better.
Part of the secret to the girls’ program success is flexibility. “We’ve had violin players, thespians and robotics team members,” says Coach Cole. “Everybody gains if you work with the kids.” He says he does all he can to accommodate team members with multiple interests, even re-arranging practice schedules or scheduling extra practice time for those with conflicts. In addition to flexibility, Coach Cole also includes real life lessons with Cross Country preparation, bringing in guest speakers and encouraging running as a lifelong activity for good health.
Coach Cole says many of his athletes do take up running as a lifelong activity with some of them even going on to compete on the collegiate level. He says it’s great to hear from these athletes after graduation. After coaching for so long he’s now enjoying the opportunity to coach the children of former students. What a legacy!
The Episcopal Cross Country team enjoys a following and fanbase second to none. Coach Cole says when the teams travel north in November the Episcopal fan bus will also be in attendance. This type of support and enthusiasm can only add to the sense of pride that comes from donning a race bib on behalf of the Knights. It truly highlights the sense of family and community that is part of the school. It definitely makes those hot summer practices worth it!
Good luck Cross Country and godspeed!