The Providence Day boys’ cross country team has built quite the tradition.
Coach Ben Hovis and his Chargers boys have won seven of the last nine NCISAA Class 3A state titles, including the past four years (2010-2013).
Providence Day has also won 14 straight CISAA conference championships.
While all-state runners after all-state runners are a big key to their success, Hovis and his coaching staff, including assistants John Compton and Randy Sienkowski, have also been a constant in the Chargers’ championship runs.
The fact that Hovis (1996) and Compton (2004) are both Providence Day graduates who once ran in the program, and Sienkowski has been on the staff for the last 14 years, makes them understand just what means to be a part of the tradition.
“We (coaches) take even more pride in this program because we all have so much invested over the years,” said Hovis, in his 13th year as the head coach at the school. “It’s a great tradition to be part of because all of the kids care so much and pass down what they’ve learned to the younger guys each year. That success had bred more success. Our kids really take that seriously and they know how hard you have to work to be a champion.”
Providence Day is again loaded with experience and talent, beginning with senior Nick Linder, who was CISAA conference and state runner-up last year (in personal-best 15 minutes, 34.92 seconds), behind only former teammate Ben Huffman, now running at Harvard.
Linder not only hopes to breakthrough as the conference and state champion, but also make it to the Foot Locker Nationals in December.
Senior Jack Paddison will also be a key runner as he finished third at the CISAA conference championships and fourth at the states, the latter in a personal-best 15:45. Paddison has a renewed focus as a senior, which should allow him to be even faster, according to Hovis.
Seniors William Glenn and Chad Matthews should also be key pieces, while rising freshman Noah Dolhare, a transfer from Charlotte Country Day, is expected to have an immediate impact for the Chargers.
But before the season gets started, Hovis, Linder and Paddison have made sure everyone on the team knows exactly what Providence Day cross country, dubbed “PDXC Pride” by Hovis, means to the them all.
“Providence Day cross country is more of a brotherhood than a team,” said Linder, a Division I cross country and track recruit, earlier this summer. “Something that Coach Hovis always talks about is: ‘What does Providence Day cross country mean to you?’ As a leader on this team, I take responsibility for that and make sure all our guys know we are running for yourself, but also for the school, the team and we all want to keep this great tradition going strong.”