Jack Shommer Invitational
Remembering Jack Schommer
Head Cross Country Coach - Brother Martin High School
In New Orleans' City Park this Saturday, October 18, Brother Martin High School hosts the Jack Schommer Invitational, named in honor of the school's first Cross Country coach. This year's meet features locally-ranked teams as well as California Division II powers Don Bosco Technical School and Avance Academia Charter School of California.
As the Head Track & Field Coach and assistant Football coach at St. Aloysius High School (now Brother Martin) in the early 1960s, Schommer was faced with the dilemma of grooming his long distance runners for the upcoming Track & Field season without the advantage of a preparatory Cross Country season. With Cross Country a few years away from becoming a sanctioned sport within the LHSAA, Schommer routinely shipped his distance runners to Mobile, AL. to run road races in the Fall in an effort to ready for the cinders in the Spring.
In 1966, Schommer organized the first cross country meet in Louisiana as he fired the starting gun for the inaugural New Orleans City Championship Meet - known now as the New Orleans Metro Championships. After the merger of Cor Jesu High School and St. Aloysius in 1969, Schommer successfully petitioned the State to sanction Cross Country as an official sport in Louisiana. Then in 1970, Louisiana responded by holding the first State Championship in Cross Country.
After he retired from coaching in the early 1990s, Schommer was recognized by the Louisiana Track & Field Coaches Association with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his efforts in advancing the sports of Cross Country and Track & Field across the state of Louisiana. While Coach Schommer's teams won multiple District, City, and State Championships, the true measure of his success can be felt at starting lines and finish chutes each Saturday morning across Louisiana in venues like City Park, Highland Road, Acadiana Park, and Northwestern State University. Many coaches in the area today - including Catholic High's Pete Boudreaux, Mandeville's Gerald Singer, former Brother Martin coach Dennis Panepinto and former Holy Cross coach Al Seither, to name a few - can attest to the positive influence of Coach Schommer's tireless efforts in advancing the sport in Louisiana. In the same way, each high school runner who laces spikes and toes starting lines this Saturday can, in part, attribute his or her opportunity to race to one Jack Schommer.So after you complete the seemingly endless Saturday morning routine of the cross country runner - waking before the sun, groggily boarding the team bus headed for New Orleans, Baton Rouge, (or wherever the team schedule dictates) with water bottle in hand and tote bag slung over shoulder - and you crouch at the starting line with this week's course twisting and turning in front of you, remember a man who helped pave the way for the challenge that lay before you
List of teams in attendance:
Girls and Boys VARSITY – Confirmed Teams
*Day of Meet Registration is Welcome
- Academia Avance Charter, CA
- Ben Franklin
- Brother Martin
- Berwick High
- Don Bosco, CA
- First Baptist
- Holy Rosary
- McDonough 35
- St. Stanislaus
- Xavier Prep