Leading the pack

Crossroads Christian runner Mason Gladieux (right) paces the field during a cross country meet at the school on Tuesday. Gladieux placed first with a time of 18:01, his second consecutive victory in the 2021 season.

HENDERSON — The first-ever cross country meet in Crossroads Christian history on Tuesday yielded a satisfactory result for head coach Trey Snide.

Senior Mason Gladieux was challenged throughout the entirety of a rainy, muggy afternoon across the treacherous course but he managed to fight off his competition and put together a time of 18 minutes,1 second to secure his second consecutive victory in 2021.

Gladieux is thrilled with the amount of success he has experienced in his first year with CCS’ cross country program and credited Snide and his teammates for helping prepare him both physically and mentally for the obstacles provided on Tuesday.

“I knew I was going to have a challenge,” Gladieux said. “This course in particular is about as cross country as you can get. You have hills, inclines and declines. There were also holes in the ground so you had to fight around those. It was a lot harder to run than many of the other courses we’ve been on this year.”

Gladieux, who is also a key contributor on CCS’ men’s basketball team, brought some experience with him when he decided to join the cross country team over the summer, as he previously ran with Cardinal Gibbons back during his freshman year.

While Snide expected a transition period for Gladieux after spending two years away from the sport, he has been impressed with the amount of progress Gladieux has made towards becoming one of the best runners in the NCISAA 1A division.

Snide added that the entire varsity team, which also consists of Mason’s brother Ben and the junior duo of Brady Bargfrede and Zachary Bartholomew, has come together to push each other in every practice and meet, which has given him confidence in the program’s ability to compete for a state title.

“All of this has nothing to do with me,” Snide said. “The effort has been there since day one and we’ve taken off much farther than I thought we would go. I had high expectations for these guys but they have blown past them and I think the sky’s the limit.”

Along with Gladieux, Bargfrede was the other member of CCS to place inside the top five on Tuesday with a time of 19 minutes, 43 seconds to help CCS place first overall against Carolina Friends and Southside Christian.

Fresh off becoming the first all-state runner in CCS history last year, Bargfrede put together a performance that Snide considered to be his best of the season so far. Snide believes that Bargfrede will contend for victories before the season wraps up.

Snide is proud of the culture that Gladieux, Bargfrede and the other runners have built in a short amount of time and is eager to see how everybody does following another solid outing on Tuesday afternoon.

“We have to continue getting better,” Snide said. “There were a lot of hills on this course so I expect all four of my guys to keep improving from here on out. If you can run [at CCS], you can run anywhere.”

Gladieux shares Snide’s optimism on the cross country program’s outlook for the rest of 2021. Gladieux anticipates more challenges in the remaining meets but intends to maximize his own potential and enjoy every opportunity to compete with the rest of the team.

“Placements don’t really matter to me,” Gladieux said. “I just want myself and my teammates to have a good time and get our personal records by the end of the season.”

Crossroads Christian times

1. Mason Gladieux, 18:01

3. Brady Bargfrede, 19:43

7. Ben Gladiuex, 21:08

10. Zachary Bartholomew, 26:45

Contact Brandon White at bwhite@hendersondispatch.com or by phone at 252-436-2840

Contact Brandon White at bwhite@hendersondispatch.com or by phone at 252-436-2840