The growing continued for Cathedral High School boys cross country.
The Irish in 2022 as a rebuilding team were also a young team, one that made strides throughout the season and into the postseason.
“The coaching staff was really pleased with how the year went,” second-year boys cross-country coach Jason Moyars said in an email. “I am pleased with how each of the runners strived to push themselves out of their comfort zone to get better.”
The Irish, after finishing sixth in the sectional in 2021, finished as the City runners-up in 2022 then turned in a strong team and individual performance at the Section 20 meet at Brebeuf Jesuit. The Irish finished sixth there with 135 points behind Bishop Chatard (59), Brebeuf (71), North Central (80), Lawrence North (104) and Pike (110).
“Being as young as we were this year heading into the sectional meet, we knew we would have to run a clean and almost perfect race to be able to advance as a team to regionals,” Moyars said. “We keyed on Pike, and unfortunately that did not pay off as we finished sixth and failed to make it out as a team.”
Senior Liam Eifert finished fourth at the sectional in 16:09.2, with junior Josh Castor 15th in 16:52.9, senior Joseph Mariani 36th in 17:55.5, freshman Finlay Reid 38th in 18:02.0, junior Alex Lozano 42nd in 18:18.3, freshman Robert Klitzman 44th in 18:28.4 and sophomore Aidan Cunningham 46th in 18:36.6.
Eifert, Castor, Mariani and Reid all qualified for the regional meet with Luke Pehlman also a top contributor throughout the season.
“This year was the second year of rebuilding,” Moyars said. “We were more competitive than last year. We are a very young team relying on several freshmen and sophomores to help in team scoring for varsity and junior varsity meets. We did improve each meet.”
Eifert turned in a 14th-place finish at the Region 10 meet at Noblesville with a time of 16:01.6, with Castor finishing 38th in 16:44.1, Mariani finishing 72nd in 17:55.3 and Reid finishing 74th in 17:56.2. Eifert finished 52nd at the Shelbyville Semistate meet in 16:37.5.
“We got better as the season went on,” Moyars said. “The group came together nicely.”
Eifert proved key both on the course and off, leading the Irish in times and providing leadership on a young team.
“Liam Eifert was our overall leader,” Moyars said. “He led at meets and also at practices. He was always there to cheer on his teammates.”
Moyar, who said an early season bowling outing helped bring the team together, said the Irish stayed injury-free much of the season. The 2022 season also featured strong numbers, with 35 runners participating including 12 freshman – the program’s largest freshman class in recent memory.
“The freshman class pushed a lot of the upper classmen to be faster,” Moyars sad.
Moyars said a season highlight was a City Meet in which the varsity ran well and finished as the city runners-up with the freshman and jayvee teams turning in dominant performances en route to city titles. Eifert won the individual varsity city title, with Alex Wesseling winning the jayvee meet and Tyler Neucks winning the freshman meet.
Liam Eifert, Mariani and Luke Pehlman all earned Academic All-State honors. Moyars said Antonio Arroyo was a leader for the jayvee program, adding that the freshman class was perhaps the program’s best class in 2022 “as they were pushing the team to get better.”
“They came in with talent and it showed as the season progressed as they were all moving up through the numbers of upperclassmen,” he said. “We are pleased with the season results as we got faster each week. We were much more competitive across all levels than last year.”
Moyars cited Reid, Klitzman and Wesseling as top underclassmen who ran varsity much of the season.
“They were key runners in each of the varsity meets that they participated in,” Moyars said. “I believe that the future looks bright for the boys team. With the mix of upperclassmen and underclassmen next year, we can be successful and surprise some teams.
“I believe we can make a run in the tournament next year. I believe we can make it to regionals as a team and see what happens from there.”