COVID Climate Empowers Cross Country Team to Adapt and Overcome


Jason Minto

Junior Ryan Banko ended up running away with the DIAA Division 1 Individual state championship with a time of 16:09.

Christian Dahms, Reporting Journalist

4 months ago, when many people in Delaware were wondering how fall sports would carry on, the Salesianum cross country team was already training at Ramsey Farm. With many new protocols in place, it was a very abnormal experience for returning runners and new ones alike. One of the new ideas that was put forth by Coach LoSapio was a ‘pod’ system, which had groups of 5-7 runners with similar times go off at separate points during practices. With no COVID cases being reported from the team, Salesianum was able to put together another strong season, and continued to show what makes the House of Sales one of the best cross country schools in the state.

Although the conditions during the meets were often rough, such as the frigid cold wind at Malvern or the mud at Bellevue and Killens Pond, the gold singlets were able to brave the elements and dominate at most of their events this season. At the State Championship two weekends ago, the varsity seven were locked in and eager to bring the division 1 championship back to 18th and Broom. Junior Ryan Banko led the way for Sallies and for the entire race, clinching the D1 individual state championship with an incredible time of 16:09.30. Seniors Luke Riley and first-time varsity runner Jack Steinhoff secured 7th and 8th place respectively and both were able to run under 17 minutes. Also placing in the top 35 were Connor Girard (20th), Matt Filliben (24th), Jack Sutton (27th), and Michael Toy (33rd). Although Cape Henlopen ended up taking the state title, Salesianum still gave a valiant effort and finished as runner-up. Despie the challenges imposed on the Salesianum cross country team, the team was still able to show why it will remain a powerhouse in the state of Delaware for years to come.