The St. Joseph’s Academy cross country team won the NSU Pre-State Meet, held October 20 on the campus of Northwestern State University in Natchitoches. The varsity team scored 20 points to best the field of 20 complete teams and 176 finishers.
Rounding out the top three were Holy Savior Menard with 87 points and St. Michael with 97.
SJA’s top seven varsity finishers were sophomore Sophie Martin, 1st place, 18:34; junior Isabelle Brown, 2nd place, 18:38; junior Virginia Dirks, 4th place, 19:15; freshman Maddie Gardiner, 5th place, 19:20 (personal record); sophomore Anna Camille Eagleton, 9th place, 19:33; sophomore Lydia Poche, 10th place, 19:34 (personal record); and sophomore Kate Ritchie, 11th place, 19:41.
In the two-mile junior varsity race, SJA scored a perfect 15 to finish first out of three complete teams with a total of 42 finishers. This was the third perfect score by the JV team in four meets this season.
The top seven JV finishers were senior Olivia Devall, 1st place, 13:08, freshman Ava Lemoine, 2nd place, 13:12; freshman Lilly Leonard, 3rd place, 13:16; freshman Elise Jones, 4th place, 13:23; freshman Olivia Hotstream, 5th place, 13:49; sophomore Macy Howard, 6th place, 13:52; and freshman Reese Favaloro, 7th place, 13:42.
“Both teams crushed the competition,” said head coach Mark LaHaye. “In the varsity race, all 10 of our runners finished in the top 20. In the JV race, our runners finished 1 thru 10 and 12 thru 15. To cap off the weekend, we had new #1 finishers for the season in both races. This was both Sophie and Olivia’s first individual wins for our team. This alone truly shows the depth of this team. It’s just incredible.”
Martin said the conditions were ideal. “We had a great race,” she said. “The weather was cool, and the course was mainly dry. We had such great support from others which really pushed us to our best abilities. It was an amazing race, and I am so proud of everyone who ran in the varsity and junior varsity races.”
Brown said she enjoyed the opportunity to run the course which will host the state championship on November 13. “It was exciting to see where we need to improve before state,” she said. “I am very happy with the team’s performance and ready to see us run some fast times at Metro this weekend.”
Livingston said she was excited to continue the team’s winning streak. “We easily won both the varsity and JV races, which adds to our undefeated season,” she said. “I’m looking forward to state in November, where will we get to see our girls race for another state title.”
Dirks agreed. “This was a great way for us to mentally and physically prepare for state,” she said.
The team will compete in the Baton Rouge Metro Meet on October 27 at Highland Road Park. The varsity race starts at 8:30 a.m. The 2-5A Regional Meet is set for November 3, also at Highland Road Park.
Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Photos courtesy of Mark LaHaye and Nan Murtagh