Madison Heights, Sterling HeightsNovember 6, 2013
Sterling Heights resident qualifies for CC state final for Bishop Foley
By Christian Davis
C & G Sports Writer
MADISON HEIGHTS — Nursing a recent foot injury, Madison Heights Bishop Foley cross country runner Toni Catalan and coach Rich Fischer didn’t really imagine the sophomore qualifying for the state final.
“We were actually kind of signed off that it was going to end last week,” Fischer said.
“I just knew I wanted to push myself to see how well I could do,” Catalan said.
Fischer said he was shocked when he saw his runner come through with the leaders after the first loop of the race at the Division 4 regional Oct. 26 in New Baltimore.
“I thought she’d be around 20th or 23rd because of (the injury),” he said. “So when she came through in the first wave in the top 10, I actually stopped to look at the map to make sure I was where I thought I placed myself. I was shocked and very proud of her for pushing through.”
The Sterling Heights resident ended up placing 14th overall, becoming the only Foley runner to qualify for the state final, which was run after press time. She also qualified last season as a freshman, becoming the first to make it as a freshman and sophomore in as long as Fischer could remember.
Pushing herself to go the distance has been a trait of the runner.
“I started running in fifth grade. I know a lot of people start out sprinting, but I started off with distance and really liked it,” she said. “It’s just time to myself; some time to release all my stress from the day. It’s really a nice way to get away.”
The coach added that Catalan’s determination and work ethic have made her one of the elite runners in the area.
He said that in the last few weeks, he’s asked her to sit out of some practices to rest her foot, which came much to the dismay of Catalan.
“She would be near tears when I told her she had to rest her foot. You normally hear, ‘OK, I’ll be over here,’” Fischer said. “I think she truly enjoys (running). She genuinely loves to do this. She’s dedicated to doing her best.”
While Catalan loves the solitude running can bring, she said the camaraderie of being on the team is her favorite part.
“They are always there cheering for me. I know when I’m running the course, I always see my team cheering. For other teams, there aren’t that many people, but I always hear my name being cheered on, and it makes me feel a lot better,” she said. “That’s one of the things, when people come to Foley, I tell them that our team is amazing. The people are great.”