Bruins cross the finish line at State


Clay Blanchard

The Bruin Corss Country team coached by David Wissel, left, and Matt Sigler.

Nyla Johnson, Staff writer

Most know Matthew Sigler as the eighth-grade English teacher and middle school baseball coach. This year, he has taken on a new role as the cross country coach.

Though fairly new to the sport, he has helped improve the runners’ technique and made them stronger by incorporating new workouts for the team. “When I first started I knew very little about the sport. I was an athlete in high school, but I didn’t really know what cross country was all about so I had to do a lot of research,” said Sigler. “I’m by no means an expert, but I would like to think I’m heading in the right direction.”

Like most things around campus, cross country has not been “normal” lately. COVID-19 has altered the way the team practices as well as how meets usually function. At practices, they warm up with masks on, but while running, they do not wear masks. Instead, Bruin runners were spaced out from each other by staggered starting. At meets, the starting line now has participants spread out as opposed to being close next to each other. Also, the number of parents and spectators has been limited with wearing masks being mandatory and keeping everyone six feet apart.

After a long season, the St. Joe cross country team found themselves with qualifying times for State. Freshman William Fugate was proud that the whole team could make the State meet. Despite bringing a younger runner, Fugate has been a dominant force on the team putting up times like 16:58.7. Sigler views Fugate’s talent as well beyond his age group. “I could see William running until his legs don’t work anymore. He’s a guy that’s committed to the sport and knows what he’s doing,” said Sigler. Fugate attributes it all to the team’s collective hard work saying that it “paid off in the end.”

Leading the girls’ team is sophomore Angela Bethea. Bethea has also been known to put up impressive times at cross country meets and has accomplished a lot in her seven years of doing the sport. She has inspired numerous girls as well. “At one of the first races of the season, a mother I know from another school stopped and told me how proud she was of my progress in the sport and that she used it to inspire some of the girls on her team,” said Bethea.

Since joining the Bruin cross country team, she has won three consecutive All-State titles for the 5K event. “My coaches have told me that some of the girls on my team look up to me as well. It’s hard to believe that people are inspired by what I’ve accomplished, but it’s also really cool knowing that people look up to me, pushes me to do better,” said Bethea.

The Bruins had a great showing at the State meet on Monday, November 2 with the girls’ team coming in fourth place. Although the boys’ team did not place, they made up for it individually. Sigler has noticed an improvement in younger runners as they are constantly shaving minutes off their times. He expects the team to be better than ever next year due to the young team they have.

Sigler has enjoyed his time coaching the cross country team, and many of the runners appreciated his dedication to them. They felt he did well for it only being his first time year coaching the sport and are excited to see how he will help them progress next year.

“He’s helped us bond as a team, which helped the atmosphere of the sport we all love,” said Bethea.

2A State Meet Results

Girls’ Team

1st: Angela Bethea (sophomore)-22:02.81

16th: Sydney Collins (eighth-grade)- 23:20.24

19th: Camryn Casserino (sophomore)- 23:42.20

Boys’ Team

1st: William Fugate (freshman)- 16:58.77

48th Hayes Gomez (eighth-grade)-22:20.01

54th Matthew D’Alfonso (eighth-grade)- 22:20.01