2022 USTFCCCA National High School Cross Country Coaches of the Year

Hype surrounded the boys’ team from Jesuit (La.) High School and the girls’ team from Saratoga Springs (N.Y.) High School entering the 2022 cross country season.

The Blue Streaks were the reigning MileSplit50 Girls Team of the Year, and that same website (MileSplit US) asked in its yearly preview, “How will Jesuit handle the expectations of a season where they’re expected to be the best team in Louisiana history?”

Pressure created diamonds: Jesuit High School and Saratoga Springs High School dazzled. That’s why their respective coaches – Cullen Doody (Jesuit) and Art Kranick and Linda Kranick (Saratoga Springs) were named the USTFCCCA National High School Cross Country Coaches of the Year Presented by the United States Marine Corps on Thursday.

Jesuit High School did the unthinkable: Doody’s team made perfection look easy.

The Blue Jays rolled through the regular season on their way to Natchitoches, Louisiana, site of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) State Championships. And it was on the muddy, 3-mile course at Northwestern State University where Jesuit actualized a prophecy envisioned by Doody in one of his first years on campus.

“I remember telling them two years ago, ‘We can perfect score this meet,’” Doody told MileSplit this past November after his team’s dominant 15-point effort to win back-to-back state titles.

The Blue Jays never strayed from their flight path with perfect scores at each checkpoint. By the time Jack Desroches won the individual title in a course-record 14:46.0 and four of his closest friends followed within 13 seconds of each other, Jesuit could celebrate the unprecedented feat (Don’t overlook that the Blue Jays snagged seven of the top-nine spots at the meet, either).

Jesuit also posted several other notable performances throughout the season, including a nine-point victory at the Nike XC Town Twilight in Terre Haute, Indiana, as well as a fourth-place showing at the Garmin RunningLane XC Championships in Huntsville, Alabama.

State and national success also highlighted Saratoga Springs High School’s season.

The Blue Streaks only got stronger as the postseason progressed, too: Saratoga Springs won by 29 points at the Section 2 Class A Championships, 56 points at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Class A State Championships and then 97 points at the NY Federation Championships, where it put five runners in the top-seven.

The Kranicks’ team continued to pulverize in-state foes with a routine victory at the NXR Northeast & New York Regional Championships where it scored just 19 points and put four runners in the individual top-10. Then, the Blue Streaks took their first trip out of New York State since 2019 and returned to the Glendover Golf Course in Portland, Oregon, for NXN Nike Cross Nationals.

Saratoga Springs reigned once again, just like in 2019. The Blue Streaks, competing as Kinetic TC, won the team title and beat the No. 2 (Clovis TC aka Buchanan (Calif.) High School) and No. 3 (Niwot TC aka Niwot (Colo.) High School) programs in the nation, among others.

Both Doody and the Kranicks will be feted in December at the 2023 USTFCCCA Convention, which will be held once again at the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center outside of Denver.