The St. Joseph’s Academy cross country team is the winner of the 2018 East Baton Rouge Metro Cross Country Championship, held October 27 at Highland Road Park. The varsity team scored 20 points to roll to its 11th consecutive metro championship, dominating the 14- team field. Rounding out the top three teams were St. Michael (91 points) and Runnels (123 points).
All seven scorers finished in the top 10, breaking the existing school record of six top-10 finishers. The team scored 20 points, tying the lowest score by an SJA team at the Metro Meet.
Three runners finished in under 17:50, each breaking the school record of 17:54 set last year by then-junior Lauren Hendry. Another five runners finished under 19 minutes, six finished under 20 minutes and another five finished under 21 minutes.
SJA’s top finishers in the three-mile varsity race were junior Isabelle Brown, 1st place, 17:31.56 (personal record; new school record and new Metro Meet record); senior Lauren Hendry, 3rd place, 17:48.25 (personal record); sophomore Sophie Martin, 4th place, 17:49.66 (personal record); freshman Maddie Gardiner, 5th place, 18:12.75 (personal record); junior Virginia Dirks, 7th place, 18:44.38 (season best); sophomore Anna Camille Eagleton, 8th place, 18:49.12 (personal record); and sophomore Lydia Poche, 9th place, 18:51.88 (personal record).
“This was truly a record-setting day for our team,” said head coach Mark LaHaye. “Our runners set 20 new personal records, and two more set new season bests. We ran for a record low total time of 1:30.06.6 and ran for a record low team average time of 18:01.32. We crushed the competition.”
Brown said the team exceeded all expectations. “I knew we would do well, but our times were incredible,” she said. “I know we have lots in store for the rest of the season and look forward to seeing how we finish.”
Hendry called the meet “perfect,” from the weather conditions to the outcome. “I am so proud of this team and the outstanding times that we all ran” she said. “It really shows the talent we have. I am so excited as we head into the end of our season and compete in our biggest meets yet.”
Gardiner said she wasn’t surprised at the record-setting performances. “I think we were all just waiting for some nice weather so that we could run fast,” she said.
The 2-5A Regional Cross Country Championship will take place on November 3 at Highland Road Park beginning at 9 a.m.
Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Photos courtesy of Tina LaHaye