The Colts, who won the Nike Cross Nationals last year, have won a national-record 316 consecutive dual meets and return four runners from last year’s top seven: seniors Jack Boyle, Bill Bragg and Aaron Liberatore and junior Mike McClemens.
Heath said the demanding academics at the all-boys school mesh well with cross country.
“It’s a challenging school and I think the kids we get basically are intelligent and willing to work hard,” Heath said. “It’s a process. Most of our kids run 12 months a year. The trick is to run them as hard as you can without burning them out.”
The team won its first dual meet of the season last week, defeating Colts Neck 25-36. They have another dual meet on Thursday against Marlboro and Saturday, they compete in their first invitational of the year, the Bowdoin Classic in Wappinger Falls, N.Y.
Heath says he and Bennett, whom Heath coached at CBA in the late 90s, provide complementary coaching styles.
“It’s a lot of like good cop, bad cop,” Heath said. “I’m old school and Chris grew up with the nuances of the newer drills. He really has done an incredible job of helping the team.”
Bennett, who ran for North Carolina and for five years with Nike’s farm team, said the coaches’ different philosophies are a plus.
“We argue all the time,” Bennett said. “I think it wouldn’t be as good as we are if we didn’t argue. That’s our way of trying to find the middle ground. And we both want the same thing, ultimately.”
Bennett said running is in the school’s DNA, pointing out that the late George Sheehan, a noted running writer, was one of the school’s founders and that, for the past 54 years, all of the school’s freshmen participate in a 1.3-mile race.
“That kinds of sets the tone for the freshman and opens up a lot of kids who have never run before to cross country,” Bennett said.
Wiggins may reclassify: Huntington (W.Va.) Prep basketball player Andrew Wiggins, who is from Toronto, will meet with his parents this week to decide whether he should attempt to reclassify to graduate in high school in 2013. Wiggins is considered the top recruit in the 2014 class and after playing well over the summer, some recruiting experts say he is the top player in the country, period.
“We support him either way,” said Huntington Prep coach Rob Fulford. “He’s going to get with his parents and hopefully figure it out.”
Huntington Prep’s players take their classes at St. Joseph’s Central in Huntington and Wiggins already has most of the core classes he needs to qualify for NCAA standards, Fulford said.
“He has eight classes a day and there’s not a lot of fluff classes,” Fulford said. “He has one art class, but the rest are are core classes. He could reclassify, but it’s easier if he decides one way or the other now so we can concentrate on the season.”
Coaches from Florida State, where Wiggins’ father, Mitchell Wiggins played, saw Wiggins work out last week. Monday night, Kentucky coach John Calipari and assistant Orlando Antiqua came to Huntington to see Wiggins.
“Cal walked in our practice facility and all play on the other three practice courts stopped,” Fulford said. “Our guys picked it up a notch.”
Wiggins didn’t even take it easy on his teammate, Moses Kingsley, dunking on the 6-9 senior center who has said he will sign with Arkansas. Kingsley recently recovered from a bout with malaria that he received while renewing his student visa in Nigeria.
“When he came back, doctors here didn’t know what it was at first,” Fulford said. “They don’t get a lot of cases of malaria in West Virginia. Yesterday was his first day back and he had lost 15 pounds that he didn’t have to lose.”
Well-represented: When top recruit Jabari Parker graduates from Simeon (Chicago) next fall, there are more players in the pipeline. Ben Coupet and Dennis Williams were among the four sets of high school teammates of the 46 boys basketball players selected to attend the attending the Oct. 6-7 USA Basketball Men’s Developmental National Team mini-camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.), Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) and Roselle (N.J.) Catholic also had two players each selected.
Class of 2015: Thomas Bryant, Bishop Kearney (Brooklyn, N.Y.); Bryant Crawford, Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.); Eric Davis, Arthur Hill (Saginaw, Mich.); Timothy Delaney, Pitman, N.J.; Marcus Derrickson, Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.); Tyler Dorsey, St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.);Perry Dozier, Spring Valley (Columbia, S.C.); Hyron Edwards, East Chicago (Ill.) Central; Andrew Fleming, Ensworth (Nashville, Tenn.); Henry Ellenson, Rice Lake, Wis.; Daniel Giddens, Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.); Jessie Govan, St. Mary’s (Manhasset, N.Y.); Franklin Howard, Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.); William Jackson, Athens (Ga.) Christian; Marcus LoVett, Providence (Burbank, Calif.); Charles Matthews, St. Rita (Chicago); Malik Newman, Callaway (Jackson, Miss.); Ivan Rabb, Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland, Calif.); Malachi Richardson, Roselle (N.J.) Catholic; Horace Spencer, William Tennent (Warminster, Pa.); Diamond Stone, Dominican (Milwauke); Elijah Thomas, Rockwall, Texas; Dennis Williams, Simeon (Chicago); and Stephen Zimmerman, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas).
Class of 2016: Edrice Adebayo, Northside (Jacksonville, N.C.); Tyus Battle, Gill Saint Bernard’s (Gladstone, N.J.); Braxton Blackwell, Christ Presbyterian (Nashville, Tenn.); Isaiah Briscoe, St. Benedict Prep (Newark); Amir Coffey, Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.); Benjamin Coupet, Simeon (Chicago); De’Ron Davis, Overland (Aurora, Colo.); Harry Giles, Wesleyan Christian (Winston-Salem, N.C.); Asante Gist, Roselle (N.J.) Catholic; Eron Gordon, North Central (Indianapolis); Josh Jackson, Consortium (Detroit, Mich.); VJ King, St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio); Joshua Langford, Madison (Ala.) Academy; Dedric Lawson, Hamilton (Memphis, Tenn.); Malik Monk, East Poinsett County (Lepanto, Ark.); Ryan Murphy, Fairfield (Conn.) Prep; Payton Pritchard, West Linn, Ore.; Devearl Ramsey, Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.); Jayson Tatum, Chaminade (St. Louis, Mo.); Derryck Thornton, Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.); Khalea Turner (Riverside Academy (Reserve, La.); and Seventh Woods, Hammond School (Columbia, S.C.).
Helicopter parent woes: Victoria Burress, a 17-year-old senior backup kicker on the football team at Patriot (Nokesville, Va.), accepted a classmate’s invitation to a homecoming dance after it was delivered via a stuffed animal dropped from a helicopter. The stuffed animal resembled her pet bulldog, Dozer.
While the stunt was approved by the school, it appears to be getting the father of Burress’ unnamed suitor in trouble. The helicopter is owned by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency and a CBP statement said an investigation has been opened into the incident.
“CBP management is looking into the matter and the pilot in command of the aircraft has been relieved and reassigned to administrative duties pending completion of the review of the incident,” the statement said.
“He knew it was my senior year, and I’ve been asked some pretty creative ways before this,” Burress told TheWashington Post. “Everyone thinks that we like each other, but it’s not like that at all. It’s just unusual to be that close with a guy and to have him still do something nice for you.”
Burress is also a midfielder on Patriots’ girls soccer team and played on a U17 national championship club team over the summer.