The St. Joseph’s Academy cross country team split into two squads to kick off the 2022 season on September 3. The Varsity-A team traveled to Mobile, Alabama, to compete in the Mobile Challenge of Champions, while the Varsity-B team competed in the 22nd annual St. Michael High School Bayou Boogie Classic at Highland Road Park. The Redstickers are the six-time defending state champions at the 5A level.
In Mobile, the runners captured their third consecutive Challenge of Champions title with a dominating performance at Langan Park. The annual event, hosted by the Mobile Sports Authority, typically includes past state champion teams from Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.
Competing in the Girls Invitational 5K race, SJA placed all five scorers in the top 20 to score 38 points, 39 points ahead of second-place McGill-Toolen Catholic of Mobile. There were 13 complete teams and 92 runners in the field.
Top scorers and their times were junior Hannah Vaughan, 3rd place, 20:10.11; junior Elise Brown, 5th place, 20:36.98 (personal record); sophomore Michelle Daigle, 6th place, 20:38.59; junior Madison Mannino, 14th place, 21:13.06 (personal record); junior Kaitlyn Francise, 15th place, 21:32.86 (personal record); and junior Grace Rennhoff, 26th place, 22:02.06.
On a muddy Highland Road Park course, which was sloppy after two weeks of nearly non-stop rain, SJA runners competed in the 3M Varsity Girls race, finishing second out of 17 complete teams and 124 finishers. SJA scored 49 points to finish behind Vandebilt Catholic (44) and ahead of Parkview Baptist (124), Mandeville (152) and St. Michael (183).
Top seven scorers and times were junior Julia Monzon, 5th place, 20:30.15; freshman Grace Martin, 8th place, 20:59.30 (personal record); sophomore Melia Hooper, 10th place, 21:13.13; senior Claire Beyer, 15th place, 21:59.69; junior Kathryn Casey, 16th place, 22:00.64; senior Emma Claire Hendry, 20th place, 22:12.81; and sophomore Kaiser Stentiford, 26th place, 22:36.82.
Next up for the Redstickers is the Episcopal Round Table Run on September 10 at Highland Road Park. The varsity race starts at 8 a.m. followed by the JV race at 8:45 a.m.
Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Photos courtesy of Stacy Rennhoff