The St. Joseph’s Academy cross country team won the 43rd annual Catholic High School Cross Country Invitational on October 6 at Highland Road Park to up its record to 6-0 on the season. SJA scored 29 points to finish first in the field of 32 complete teams and 244 finishers.
Rounding out the top three were Holy Savior Menard (128 points) and Academy Sacred Heart-New Orleans (131 points).
SJA’s top seven varsity finishers in the three-mile race were junior Isabelle Brown, 2nd place, 18:23; senior Lauren Hendry, 3rd place, 18:33; sophomore Sophie Martin, 4th place, 18:40; junior Virginia Dirks, 7th place, 18:46 (season best); sophomore Anna Camille Eagleton, 13th place, 19:29; sophomore Kate Ritchie, 14th place, 19:30; and sophomore Lydia Poche, 16th place 19:37 (personal record).
In the two-mile JV race, SJA scored a perfect 15 points to finish atop the field of 10 complete teams and 108 total finishers. Cabrini finished second with 63 points followed by Mandeville with 81. SJA’s top seven finishers were freshman Maddie Gardiner, 1st place, 12:42 (season best); freshman Lilly Leonard, 2nd place, 13:01; freshman Elise Jones, 3rd place, 13:06; freshman Ava Lemoine, 4th place, 13:33; freshman Amelia Cochran, 5th place, 13:39 (season best); freshman Alexis Napoli, 8th place, 14:17 (season best); and freshman Reese Favaloro, 10th place, 15:02.
“This was another dominating performance by our team,” said head coach Mark LaHaye. “I think I counted five PRs and another seven SBs. That’s a good sign for us at this point in the season. Then having four of the top 10 finishers in the varsity race at the CHS Meet is really incredible considering the competition that this meet draws. Plus, in the scored JV race, our entire top seven finished in the top 10. And that was all freshmen. Wow!”
Brown said she was gratified to see so many personal records set. “The dry course and anticipation leading up to this meet gave us the perfect opportunity to excel,” she said. “I am proud of this team and can see the bright future that lies ahead for us.”
Eagleton said that while the temperatures were a bit higher than anticipated, the team performed well. “We had a successful day,” she said. “I think I can speak for the whole team when I say that we are especially proud of our freshmen this weekend. They were fantastic, and we are so excited that they were able to finish with a perfect score. Based on their performance, this team has an amazing future to look forward to.”
The team has an open date this weekend, then heads to Natchitoches for the pre-state meet on October 20. The Baton Rouge Metro Championship follows on October 27 at Highland Road Park. The varsity race begins at 8:30 a.m.
Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Photos by Erin Albarado and Tina LaHaye