If there was any question that the Christian Brothers Academy cross country team is capable of becoming the first boys team to win back-to-back Nike Cross Nationals titles this December, those questions were emphatically put to rest on Saturday morning.
Running its varsity for the first time this season at the Bowdoin XC Classic in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., the Colts swept the first five spots for 15 points and dropped a course record with a five-man average of 16:14.7 to win the event.
The course record of 16:15.2 was set in 2004 by perennial regional and national contender Fayetteville-Manlius of New York. CBA’s mark on Saturday is 16 seconds faster than what it ran to win this event last season, which ended with the win at Portland Meadows to cap an undefeated season.
Saturday’s race was run on the same course where the NXN Northeast Regional will be run on Nov. 24. The top three finishers there will be off to Portland Meadows in Oregon on Dec. 1 for Nike Cross Nationals.
Billy Bragg (16:03.2), Jack Boyle (16:13.2), Mike McClemens (16:15.9), Tom Rooney (16:20.0) and Fran Bogan (16:21.1) rounded out the top five for the Colts, who sat out varsity regular Aaron Liberatore.
Boyle, McClemmens, Bragg and Liberatore are all returning regulars from CBA’s national title team. Off the national title and with more than half the lineup returning, the Colts began the season and remain as the No. 1 team in the country according to multiple national polls.