In a tradition rich program such as Belen Jesuit you never forget where you came from. This point is evident when runners from decades past converge with current Wolverines in an annual event called the "Glory Mile". Coach Frankie Ruiz says 75 runners came out this year to tackle the mile long course which is mainly run on the team's cross country course.
Less than five minutes later a champion, or in this year's case two, were crowned. Class of 2011 standout Frankie Tejidor, (now at the College of Holy Cross), and class of 2012 star Elliot Clemente (now at the University of Florida) battled it out and crossed the line in a tie. Yes, a tie. 4:57. Ruiz says it was a "friendly tie".
As for Ruiz, an avid runner himself, he hung right in there with the guys.
"I ran 5:28. It was a bit slow. I haven't been running lately since the boys ended their season. I think I beat about 90% of them though."
Bragging rights might not be on the line, but there is a sense of pride, not over one another, but for one's self. Ruiz had the pleasure of running alongside his father, who was part of one of the first Belen cross country teams. He says seeing that many of those guys that are still able to run gives him a renewed sense of the longevity of the sport and how it connects them for years to come.
"Having so many guys come back means a great deal because in the end that is what we tell the current team it is all about: the history, the program and the tradition they are responsible for maintaining. We are blessed in that there is continuity and consistency in our program throughout the 43 years of the program."