The St. Joseph’s Academy cross country team won for the third time in as many starts, capturing the Christian Brothers Invitational on September 15. The meet, hosted by St. Paul’s School at Money Hill Plantation, featured 20 complete teams and 177 finishers.
SJA scored 21 points followed by Mandeville (76) and Dominican (139).
SJA’s top seven varsity finishers were senior Lauren Hendry, 1st place, 19:07; junior Isabelle Brown, 2nd place, 19:12; sophomore Sophie Martin, 4th place, 19:16; freshman Maddie Kate Gardiner, 6th place, 19:29 (personal record); sophomore Anna Camille Eagleton, 10th place, 19:41; junior Virginia Dirks, 11th place, 19:46; and sophomore Kate Ritchie, 14th place, 20:11.
In the three-mile JV race, the Redstickers finished first out of six complete teams and 84 finishers. SJA scored 15 points followed by Mt. Carmel (103) and St. Michael (104). Top JV finishers were freshman Elise Jones, 1st place, 20:36 (personal record); freshman Lilly Leonard, 2nd place, 20:50; senior Angelle Martin, 3rd place, 20:58 (season best); sophomore Lydia Poche, 4th place, 21:14; junior Mary Claire Saia, 6th place, 21:43; senior Olivia Devall, 7th place, 22:05; and freshman Ava Lemoine, 8th place, 22:14.
“This was a truly dominating performance by our team,” said head coach Mark LaHaye. “In the varsity race, we finished 1-2-4-6-10-11-14, and in the JV race, we finished 1-2-3-4-6-7-8, plus we had the 9 through 14 finishers. If you add them up, in the varsity race, we had seven of the top 15 finishers, and in the JV race, we had 13 of the top 15 finishers. That’s strong.”
Hendry, who finished first in last weekend’s Episcopal Round Table Run, said the temperatures made the race a challenge. “But I think we all performed well anyway,” she said. “This was a different course and was a little bit slower than usual, but we placed well in both races. We all ran smart races and were well prepared.”
Gardiner said the team worked together to secure victories. “I thought we did a better job of staying together as a pack and really pushing each other,” she said. “It was a great run for both varsity and JV.”
Next up for the runners is a trip to Pensacola on September 22 for the Gulf Coast Cross Country Stampede hosted by West Florida High School. The meet will be held at the Escambia Equestrian Center.
Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Photos courtesy of Tina LaHaye