November 10th, 2011

Elementary Excellence: Holy Trinity XC

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer

Elementary Excellence: Holy Trinity XC
photo courtesy of Cathy Schneider

Pres grad leads cross country team to successful season

The following feature is a part of a weekly series called "Elementary Excellence" - a set of profiles that will spotlight Louisville area Catholic elementary schools and its athletic programs, teams, traditions and excellence in all aspects of sports. Do you want your school to be featured? Send us your recommendation to

Cathy Schneider has running experience. She ran at Presentation Academy, and she has finished many races, including marathons.

And all of her experience came in handy years ago when her oldest son, now 19, signed up for track in the fifth grade.

“The team found themselves without a coach. I quickly pulled something together for the team that year, but when I was asked to continue coaching for the next season, I thought, ‘I don’t know anything about the field events," said Schneider. I thought there would be too much of a learning curve."

With the assistance of other coaches on the track and then later the cross-country team, Schneider found herself keeping the coaching title.

Now, in her fourth year as the head coach of the cross-country team, the eagles of Holy Trinity Parish School have seen great success.

“We recently had the 7th-8th grade girls become city champs, the boys 5th-6th graders were runner up, and 7th-8th grade boys were also runner up city champs,” said Head Coach Cathy Schneider. “We had three of four groups that could possibly have awards honored.”

But according to Schneider, victories on and off the running paths have come from a good group of great kids’ hard work and faith for going the distance.

“I’m very proud of this team. These kids could not be nicer. And they really support one another,” said Schneider. “We have a verse we go by on the team, Isaiah 40:31, which states, “ But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

The Eagles, which can apply the verse directly, are getting ready for a new level of competition.

“We are gearing up for the National Cross Country Championship in Huntington, West Virginia on November 19. We are going to take the sixth grade and under team that won the state championship. A lot of people just bring two or three star runners. But, if your team has won the state championship, you can bring more runners. So, we are taking 14 runners: Reed Shay, Liam Egan, Will Perrone, Christopher Schneider, Nick Poole, Joey Schrepferman, Luke Buddeke, Ryan Davis, Alex Tapia, Tara Johnson, Shelby Arnett, Ann Preston Radford, Jenna Kostecki, and Claire Saylor.”

According to Schneider, while other elite teams are taking runners, Holy Trinity is looking to go as the only parish school in this area to run as a team at the meet.

“Generally looking at grade schools, there are just a couple people that would qualify, so it’s a blessing to qualify this little team,” said Schneider.

Schneider says she is proud of where the program has come from the past few years, and she’s excited about where it’s going down the road as well.

“We are getting more and more runners interested in the team. We’ve added a lot of new people to the sport the last few years, and that helps the team by sheer numbers. In general, these kids are doing a variety of sports at this age,” said Schneider. “So, running helps them in their other sports. I hear running is “other sports’ punishment”, but we have more people becoming open to it. We try to do trails and different routes to be more creative and make it fun.”

Schneider added that the parent involvement on the team has added to the blessing of the athletes’ journeys over the past few years. And, of course, faith, she said, has played a major role in the success of the program.

“Last year, we did very well in track and cross country. And at the state cross-country meet, parents came to pray over the students for courage and strength. They prayed, ‘they’re ready Lord, they have a gift for running.’ I tell the parents, ‘I want to teach your kids something about faith, to love the Lord, and teach them something about running along with that,”” said Schneider.

As Schneider continues to share her faith with her team, she says she looks forward to future meets, like next weekend, where the students can use their gifts to represent their school.

Said Schneider: “My goal for the team is for all of these runners to have their PRs (personal bests),” said Schneider. They are working hard. They have risen to every occasion. I think they are going to have great races.”


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