Chalmette High School’s Cross Country team.
Photos Courtesy of St. Bernard Parish Public Schools
Contributed by St. Bernard Parish Public Schools
The Chalmette High School Cross Country program continues its tradition of excellence. Recently, it won a double championship as both the boys and the girls teams were crowned as district champs. This marks the fourth consecutive district title for the boys and the third in a row for the girls.
At the regional meet, the girls placed fifth, qualifying for the state meet in Natchitoches later this month.
Jennifer Gioia, the head coach for both teams, credits her assistant coaches, Rosemary Gioia and Jose Becerra, for their positive influence on the 21 runners and one manager who comprise this year’s team.
“We have a tremendous coaching unit,” she said. “All three of us have known each other for decades, and all of us bring a wealth of experience to our program.”
Gioia was quick to point out that coaching is only one piece of the success puzzle. “The other piece is the dedication of the athletes. We have a very young team, only one senior, and they have done what we have asked of them. They are a very happy bunch, and they continue to improve and support each other. We work hard to create our own opportunities,” she said.
The lone senior on the squad is Alyssa Hernandez, a multi-sport athlete who was also named as the district champion as well as its MVP. Other runners finishing in the top 10 included Rhianna Forbes, Kimberly Disalvo, Jhana Fisher, Carmen Tonry, and Line Buie.
The boys were led by Mauricio Matute and Nick Brady. Joe Gruner, Fox Ducote, and Logan Davis also finished in the top 10.
CHS Athletic Director David Brossette said he appreciates the team unity and effort instilled in the cross country program.
“The great thing about this year’s team is although everyone didn’t qualify for the state meet, each person who participated in regionals beat their own personal record,” Brossette said.
He is also encouraged by the growth of the program and the direction it is heading. “The athletes are working very hard, and the coaches have them peaking at the right time,” said Brossette.
Alyssa Hernandez, a Chalmette High School senior, was named as the district MVP.