By Richard Polen
Globe Sports Writer
McAuley Catholic is planning to add cross country as a varsity sport beginning with the 2013-14 school year, athletic director Brenden Gubera said Tuesday.
McAuley currently competes in cross country at the junior high level through a cooperative agreement with College Heights.
“At our meeting, we had 14 to 18 kids show an interest and that told us right there it was worth pursuing,” Gubera said. “One thing we thought about is it’s a sport where kids have a chance to compete against themselves.”
McAuley head track and field coach Patrick Bromley said he had approached Gubera about starting a cross country program in part because of the success College Heights has had. The Cougars won the Class 1 state championship four years in a row from 2007-10.
“We’ve seen College Heights have a tremendous amount of success with it,” Bromley said. “They haven’t always been a steller cross country program. They built that program with a lot of kids who wanted to work hard.
“I know I have a lot of kids who want to work hard,” he said. “That doesn’t mean we’ll be as successful as College Heights. The athletic director and I got together and agreed it would be a good move for the school.”
Bromley said he competed in cross country at Carl Junction High School, where he graduated in 2004. His brother, Charlie, won the 2001 state championship in Class 3 and went on to run at Oklahoma State.
“Since then, I’ve been a lifetime runner,” he said. “I’ve competed in two iron-man triathlons, so I’ve just been immersed in the cross country and track and field scene. That’s something I want to get going at McAuley.”
Gubera said the new team likely would practice near the high school instead of using a practice course on the campus of Missouri Southern.
“There’s a lot of running we could do around the school,” he said. “We have a successful college program here in town. Maybe over the years we’ll be able to send some runners to them.”