Bishop England High School student-athlete Mark Richter is heading out West after graduation, and will matriculate to Carroll College in Montana – Big Sky Country.
But first, there is some unfinished business for the talented distance runner who is a member of the Battling Bishops’ track and field and cross country teams.
Last month, Richter helped the Bishops to their second Class AAA state title in three years as the Bishops dominated the state meet, which was held in Columbia. The Bishops defeated Pendleton by 34 points, placing five runners in the top 20, including Richter, who finished 13th overall with a time of 16 minutes and 56 seconds over the 5-kilometer course.
He was then selected to be part of the Shrine Bowl Run, an event that recognizes the top graduating cross country runners from around the state as well as help the Shriners raise money for their hospitals for crippled and burned children.
This is 2020. In a normal year, participants would run a relay, using a football with a baton, from the Shriner’s Hospital in Greenville to Wofford College in Spartanburg, where they run the ball onto the field for the Shrine Bowl All-Star Football Game.
The goal for the runners this year was to run a virtual race on Dec. 12, while wearing their Shrine Bowl Run sweatshirt. Afterward, they were supposed to post the video of their race.
“It’s an interesting concept,” said Richter, who was only the fifth Bishop since the mid-1980s who was selected to take part in the Shrine Bowl Run. “But I still haven’t been able to do it, to run the race with the T-shirt. It’s on my to-do-list.”
The other unfinished business is the 2021 track and field season. The COVID-19 pandemic brought high school athletics to a screeching halt in March. All the spring state sports championships were canceled, and the Bishops were denied the chance to contend
for their fifth state title in the school’s history.
“We were expecting to have a big season,” Richter said. “We worked hard and were focused on bringing our times down. We had a good blend of young and experienced runners last year. But we never had the chance.”
Richter has worked hard for track season, which will commence in a few months. The Bishops will rely on their distance runners for a good performance at the 2021 State Championships.
Once Richter wraps up his high school career, he will get a chance to run for the Carroll College cross country and track and field teams, including the Fighting Saints indoor track team.
Carroll College is a Catholic institution of higher learning, and is located in Helena. The school offers 35 majors and participates in 15 NAIA sports. The school is affiliated with the Frontier League.
“I really like it out West,” said Richter, who moved with his family from Southern California to the Lowcountry. “It’s in the foothills of the mountains, so it is an impressive setting. It offers excellent academics and athletics.”