It was not only the closest race at the Oschner/LHSAA Cross Country State meet but a historic one as the Dunham boys team edged Episcopal by one point to win their first Class 2A title. The win also ended the Knights’ national-best streak of 25 straight titles.
Senior John Walker McDonald won the 2A individual title for the second straight year with a winning time of 16:24.8 McDonald took the lead during the second mile and held a comfortable 12-second lead going into the third mile.
“Winning again as an individual was great...but that feeling is nothing compared to winning as a team,” McDonald said. “Being part of the first state winning team in school history is so special. I am so proud of all of my other teammates who killed it at state.”
McDonald added, “Being the team who broke Episcopal’s 25 year streak is super cool. They are the definition of winning for Louisiana cross country regardless of class. We knew they would come out swinging, but we were able to find a way to win. Honestly, the best way to end my Dunham cross country career and I am grateful for it."
Last summer, Coach Aaron Nasers cast a vision for his team, who finished a close second at the 2020 state meet. “I cannot say enough about my guys. I knew we could compete at state with even more focus and passion if we concentrated on what we can do, not on the other team. I challenged them to become the best we could be, run our race, and do so for the right reasons, to give glory and honor to God,” Nasers said.
The Tigers finished the race with three runners in the top ten-- McDonald in first place (16:24.8), senior Antonio Delgado in fifth place (17:20.4) and junior Reese Davis in tenth place. McDonald and Delgado earned All-State honors; Delgado also received Academic All-State honors.
The Dunham girls team also had their first Top Ten finish ever, placing ninth. Led by 3-time all state runner Riley Ries ‘23 (who placed fifth), the young girls team far exceeded expectations, laying the groundwork for a strong 2022 season.