Placing four of its five scorers in the top 10, the St. Joseph’s Academy cross country team won its sixth consecutive meet of the year on October 3. The undefeated Redstickers hosted the 38th annual SJA Cross Country Invitational at Highland Road Park. The meet, the first of the COVID-impacted season which allowed more than 100 runners to start at the same time, featured 18 teams.
With 15 personal-record times, SJA scored 32 points to outdistance runner-up Vandebilt Catholic (77). Rounding out the top five were Episcopal (148), Fontainebleau (149) and Dominican (153).
Senior Sophie Martin finished first overall in a personal-record time of 17:36.4. This is the fastest individual time scored by a Redsticker at the SJA meet and the second fastest time on record behind Malia Cali of St. Thomas Aquinas, who ran a 17:26.0 in 2007.
“I am so proud of my own performance and my team’s performance,” Martin said. “Saturday was an amazing day to compete. We had perfect weather conditions and great competition. I feel that the conditions and competition are what led me to run a personal best. I am beyond excited to see how we perform next week and the rest of the season.”
According to Coach Mark LaHaye, the team’s total time of 1:32:39.13 is the fastest team time ever run at an SJA Invitational. It also marks the fourth fastest team time on record.
Freshman Stella Vincent finished sixth in 18:35.0 (personal record); junior Maddie Kate Gardiner finished eighth in 18:44.3; sophomore Emma Hendry finished 10th in 18:48.3 (personal record); and senior Brynn Duggan finished 14th in 18:55.1 (personal record). Junior Elise Jones finished 19th in 19:08.0, and senior Lydia Poche finished 15th in 19:38.0.
Jones said the team has been dominant throughout the season and, true to history, individual runners are starting to find their form. “The SJA Invitational is when each runner really starts reaching season-best times and personal records,” she said. “I think this is due to a combination of multiple factors. The weather cools down, our training foundation is rock-solid and, most importantly, we have a natural affinity to show off our Sticker spirit. No one wants to lose at their home meet.”
For the third-week in-a-row, the JV team finished in first through fifth places for a perfect score of 15 points. Scorers were junior Ava Lemoine, first place, 19:14.6 (personal record); freshman Grace Rennhoff, second place, 19:17.5 (personal record); sophomore Claire Beyer, third place, 19:38.2 (personal record); senior Macy Howard, fourth place, 20:06.7; and freshman Hannah Vaughan, fifth place, 20:18.1. Other finishers were junior Amelia Cochran, sixth place, 20:20.3 (personal record); senior Anna Camille Eagleton, seventh place, 20:33.0; senior Catherine Saunders, eighth place, 20:34.7 (personal record); and freshman Madison Mannino, ninth place, 20:40.1 (personal record).
Next up for the Redstickers is the CHS Invitational at Highland Road Park. The meet was originally scheduled for October 10 but has been moved to Tuesday, October 13, in advance of Hurricane Delta’s anticipated Louisiana landfall. The varsity race begins at 3 p.m. JV races will begin at the conclusion of the boys’ varsity race at 3:30 p.m.
Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Photos courtesy of Nan Murtagh