After conquering Long Island two weeks ago, St. Anthony's took on New York City CHSAA schools Sunday afternoon. And the result was eerily similar. Though it wasn't the shutout that the Friars turned in at the league championships, their performance was nearly as dominant, scoring 36 points and winning the CHSAA Intersectional championship at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.
Pat Tucker won the 2.5-mile race in 12 minutes, 24.09 seconds. The time broke the meet record of 12:25 set by Cathedral's Kevin McCarey in 1971.
"It went out pretty slow," Tucker said. "As the race went on, it got gradually faster . . . I wasn't surprised [by the slow start], there are a lot of great people in the race, including [Xavier's] John Rice and [Fordham Prep's] Conor Lundy. I knew that no one wanted to take the lead."
With about 800 meters left, Tucker decided the lead was his to have and took off, making a move in the back hills past Lundy and toward the finish line.
St. Anthony's placed four runners in the top 10. Joe Tucker, Pat's twin brother, was fourth in 12:44.63, Ryan Dearie was ninth in 13:07.46, and Frederick Buckholtz was 10th in 13:08.16.
Joe Tucker's performance marked the culmination of a very long journey. He tore his left labrum in the early part of last season. After surgery in November, Tucker endured a nearly nine-month rehab. "It's really exciting," Tucker said of his recent healthy success. "It's definitely brought me closer to the sport. I had to stay dedicated to it no matter what. I missed the sport so much and now I'm back into it. There's nothing like running."
Joe Tucker said that an underrated challenge of the course is not getting distracted by the classic fall scenery and keeping complete focus on staying with the front pack. "It's kind of nice here," he said with a smile.
It's even nicer when you drive home with a team championship plaque. The victory was St. Anthony's 18th Intersectional championship, the most of any program in the 87-year history of the race.
"It means a lot in a league with as much tradition and history as the CHSAA," coach Tim Dearie said. "I actually didn't know we were tied for the most ever [with Bishop Loughlin] until today . . . We weren't focused on the record. We were focused on trying to beat Fordham Prep and Xavier, two of the top teams in the state. It's gravy to know that the win put us over the top."
St. Anthony's had a 12:55.52 team average, the best in meet history, Dearie added.
Next is the state Federation meet Saturday in Wappingers Falls.