Cross Country Runs to Glory


Andy Galan, Staff reporter

Central has had many sports programs do very well in the past couple years, but one sport that has been excelling over the past two years is the Girls’ Cross Country team. In the last two years, the team has dominated their competition, going 2-0 for state championship titles, which stands out to the school because many of the athletes on the team are still very young.

Jake O’Hara and Jimmy Centella, two of the Girls’ Cross Country coaches, went into detail on what it took to build their program into what it is today . Centella has been the team’s  head coach and taught Spanish for 14 years, while O’Hara, an assistant coach, has taught English at Central for 2 years. They have both been there to support the team on their journey to winning two back-to-back state titles, and both coaches have a deep passion for the sport.

“I love the sport of cross country. I think running is a pretty unique endeavor. And then… you just get to see people kind of grow up and achieve their potential,” O’Hara said.

“Coaching Cross country introduced me to many new people over the years whether it is athletes, coaches within our saff, or coaches from other schools. These relationships mean a lot to me and it is awesome to see how the [athletes] grow,”  Centella explained

Centella elaborated on this theme of providing for his athletes, explaining that part of his motivation has to do with his experience as a High School runner.

“I wanted to give a new generation of runners a better experience than I had in high school.  I was part of a small program that was not very dedicated to running. I wanted to help the runners I coach maximize their potential and create successful teams,” Centella said.

A state championship title is the highest achievement a sports team can get for their school. To win two back-to-back state titles is a feat that requires what may seem to many as herculean effort, and as a result only few have ever achieved this goal over the years.  Girls’ Cross Country is one of the few that have achieved that goal, and the training and dedication that is needed to accomplish those goals is not easy, a theme that O’Hara elaborated on.

“If you want to succeed at that level, you have to be running in the offseason, you have to be taking it seriously. So it takes a lot of delayed gratification,” O’Hara explained.

After talking to both coaches, it only makes sense to interview a player. Sara Armstrong and Bella Domier are two extremely talented cross country runners for GCHS, both of whom experienced significant growth over these past few years.

“[Cross country] has taught me how to set reasonable goals and accomplish them. It also showed me what it means to be part of a team,” Armstrong explained.

“Cross country has impacted my life drastically. It has taught me so many lessons that I apply to my everyday life. [It] has also allowed me to meet and grow closer to a lot of my favorite people,”Domier mentioned.

Girls’ Cross Country might have already won two state titles, but the fight is not over. Many of the athletes are still very young, and can still grow from this point on. With these two titles under their belt, they have certainly set the bar high for the upcoming seasons, and have absolutely stamped themselves in the history books for many future generations.