By Richard Polen
Globe Sports Writer
Patrick Bromley learned on Monday the scope of the challenge in front of him as head coach of McAuley Catholic’s first cross country team.
Five aspiring runners — three boys and two girls — were on hand for the team’s first practice.
“Until you build your program, it’s going to be a battle every year,” Bromley said. “You’re not going to get there overnight. I have high expectations, but I also have realistic expectations. I want them to learn a lifelong sport that they can enjoy for years to come.”
One of the reasons why McAuley decided to offer cross country at the high school level was the interest shown among junior high students in the school’s cooperative agreement with College Heights.
“We won conference at the junior high level,” Bromley said. “I think we have a lot of young talent.”
Max Ostmeyer, a freshman, and Mary Street, a senior, are two of the team’s top prospects, Bromley said. Even though McAuley won the Ozark 7 Conference boys track meet last spring, the returnees from that squad have opted to play football instead.
“This will only help our track program,” Bromley said. “The one aspect of our track program that we were a little weak on were the distance events, and this will help tremendously having kids run year round.
“It’s not the glamour sport of America,” he said. “You get out of it what you put into it, and it’s going to take kids who want to put a lot into it to make this program successful.”