Historically speaking, Catholic League dominance has occurred in every sport. When it does, it spoils the party for the majority.
Take, for instance, boys’ and girls’ cross country.
In the Catholic League championships at Belmont Plateau on Oct. 24, La Salle High School captured the boys’ title while Cardinal O’Hara snared the girls’ honors. For the Explorers, it ended Cardinal O’Hara’s five-year reign as champ; for the O’Hara girls, it was their third straight crown.
Dig a little deeper, however, and the names “Cardinal O’Hara” and “La Salle” have been etched as champs with permanent ink.
For the boys, O’Hara won three straight from 2000 through 2002 before La Salle took over by winning seven straight from 2003 through 2009. Then O’Hara re-seized the glory from 2010 through 2014 before La Salle won this fall.
In the 75 championships that have been earned since 1941, La Salle has won 15 of them, with O’Hara and Roman Catholic tied for second with nine.
For the girls, O’Hara has now won three straight years. Take away Archbishop Wood’s three-peat from 2010 through 2012, and O’Hara has won every title since 2004. Their six-year streak from 2004 through 2009 was bettered by only one other school since the introduction of Catholic League girls’ cross country.
That school was none other than Cardinal O’Hara, which won seven straight from 1986 through 1992. All told, O’Hara has taken 17 crowns; Archbishop Wood is second with seven.
In the 2015 race, O’Hara scored 18 points behind first-place Olivia Arizin, second-place Grace Mancini, third-place Liz Mancini, fourth-place Sara Hayes, and eighth-place Christine Mancini; the three Mancini finishers are sisters.
Archbishop Wood placed a distant second with 57 points, followed by St. Hubert, Bonner-Prendergast, Little Flower, Archbishop Carroll, Archbishop Ryan and Bishop McDevitt.
Meanwhile, La Salle’s 27 points were comprised of Eddie Goebel (third place), Evan Addison (fourth), Stephen Paul (fifth), Frank Livolsi (sixth), and Patrick Grant (ninth). Behind first-place Rob Morro and second-place Ryan James, Cardinal O’Hara finished second with 50 points.
In third place was Roman Catholic, followed by St. Joseph’s Prep, Archbishop Wood, Bonner-Prendergast, Archbishop Ryan, Father Judge, Archbishop Carroll and Lansdale Catholic.
John Knebels can be reached at email@example.com.