SirLaurence King’s debut as the Leo Lions’ cross country coach resulted in a sixth-place finish in the eight-team Connelly Invitational hosted by St. Ignatius in Romeoville on Saturday, Sept. 4.

The event was pretty much a Jesuit Jamboree as runners from Loyola Academy and St. Ignatius claimed 13 of the top 15 places, leading the Ramblers and Wolfpack to a 1-2 showing in the team standings.

Junior Jakeem Cole’s 42nd-place finish in 17:54.34 over the three-mile course led the Leo contingent; next came Tim Wilson (19:35.60), David Hannah (20:45.37), Arian Dean-Wheeler (21:59.37) and Khalifa Brandon (27:27.88). Keliche Mbah and fellow freshman Jerry Brown were the top Leo finishers in the frosh-soph meet.

“It wasn’t a bad showing for a first race, given that some of our guys hadn’t run competitively in a while,” King said. “Overall, we have a lot of talent. Now it’s all about being consistent with practice, not taking any shortcuts with preparation and following the game plan, and the results will speak for themselves.”

The remaining schedule:

Sat., Sept. 11: Lee Halberg Invitational, Springfield
Sat., Sept. 18: Julian Urbana Invitational, South Holland
Fri.,  Sept. 24: Brother Rice Invitational
Sat., Oct. 2: Lisle Main Event
Sat., Oct. 9: Jimmy Daniels Invitational, Richton Park
Sat., Oct. 16: CCL Championship, TBA
Sat., Oct. 23: IHSA Regional, TBA
Fri.,  Oct. 29: IHSA Sectional, TBA

* * *

Leo High School is proud to announce the appointment of SirLaurence King ’16 as the Lions’ head cross country coach. King, 22, succeeds Andre Weathers, an assistant track coach who filled the role on an interim basis after Marcus Pass ’04 resigned to become head track and cross country coach at Hope Academy.

King is one of the most accomplished distance runners in Leo history, having qualified for the IHSA state meet in both track and cross country as a junior and again as a senior. His 11th-place finish in the state meet as a senior earned him All-State recognition in cross country.

King attended UIC on a track and cross country scholarship, competing in both sports for four years while earning a degree in psychology. He plans to continue his education in graduate school and eventually work as a high school guidance counselor.

King was known for his dedication, frequently running on his own at 5 in the morning and then joining his teammates for workouts after school. He also ranked within the top five of his graduating class.

“SirLaurence epitomized the term ‘student-athlete’ during his time at Leo, and we’re delighted he has decided to return,” Leo President Dan McGrath said. “He always represented us like a champion. We know he’ll bring the same commitment and dedication to coaching that he brought to competing, and success will follow.”

King’s appointment is effective immediately.

“I owe a lot to Leo for the education and the opportunities I received, and I want the young guys coming up to have similar experiences,” King said. “I’m grateful for this opportunity. I can’t wait to get started.”