The St. Joseph’s Academy cross country team won its eighth consecutive LHSAA state championship on November 13. The Redstickers scored 51 points to finish ahead of Mount Carmel (63), Dominican (117), C.E. Byrd (117) and Baton Rouge High (201). There were 24 teams and 174 runners in the Division I field.
The three-mile championship race was held at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches.
“This may not have been our lowest score ever at state, but this was our fastest team time on record,” said Coach Mark LaHaye. “Our team time of 1:33:34.37 beat last season’s team record time by 15.53 seconds. Once again, we scored the fastest team time among all divisions.”
Grace Rennhoff was SJA’s top finisher, finishing third in a time of 17:59.05. She set a new school record for the state meet and ran the fourth fastest time of the day across all divisions. Rennhoff was followed by Michelle Daigle, fifth place, 18:14.34 (third fastest state meet time in school history); Elise Brown, sixth place, 18:20.84 (fourth fastest state meet time in school history); Hannah Vaughan, 16th place, 19:12.23; Charlotte Beck, 25th place, 19:47.93 (10th fastest state meet time in school history); Kaitlyn Francise, 31st place, 19:54.15; and Julia Monzon, 38th place, 20:07.83.
This year’s race marked the seventh time in the past 11 years that SJA had at least three runners finish in the top 10 and the 10th time that the top five runners finished in the top 25.
Senior Grace Rennhoff said winning the state championship was a team effort. “The team performed extremely well,” she said. “We would not have been able to win state for the eighth year in a row if it weren’t for the team’s support and encouragement.”
Senior Elise Brown said that while she didn’t run the race she had hoped to, winning the state championship was a great accomplishment. “Getting the opportunity to race with my team like this one last time was so special, and I am so proud of the legacy we have continued and will leave for the next generation of SJA cross country,” she said.
Rennhoff, Daigle and Brown earned LHSAA All-State honors.
Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Photos courtesy of Tina LaHaye