Jesuit edges Episcopal 107-108; St. Joseph’s trims Dominican
“We’ve both been winning, but anytime Southern Lab and Christian Life get together I think you can throw the records out. It’s pretty intense.” Nick Mitchell, Southern Lab coach
The 37th annual Catholic High Cross Country Invitational meet generated some high drama on a steamy Saturday morning at Baton Rouge’s Highland Road Park.
“There were some great races and some great times,” Catholic High coach and meet director Pete Boudreaux said. “It was still a little warm, but they were faster than a week ago, and as coaches that’s what you’re looking for: that they run faster every week.”
In the boys team competition, Class 2A Episcopal-Baton Rouge had five runners run all-time personal bests. The Knights lost the team championship to 5A Jesuit-New Orleans by a single point, 107-108. St. Paul’s-Covington (112), host Catholic High (128) and Brother Martin-NO (128) completed the top five.
Jesuit’s Neal Fitzpatrick led the Blue Jays, winning the individual title 14 minutes, 59 seconds and was the only runner to break 15 minutes on the three-mile course.
Fontainebleau’s Nicole Durham was the girls champion and the only runner under 19 minutes, finishing in 18:38.
“It’s not my best time on this course,” Fitzpatrick said, “but it was a good day overall. It was a little hot, and nobody really pushed me. As a team we’ve been dealing with some injury problems, but I think we’re finally coming together.”
Durham was running on the Highland Road course for the first time this year.
“We ran here last year, but the course was a little different,” she said. “It was hot out here, but that just makes you stronger. I ran my best time this year, and it was all right, but not at all my PR.”
The highest girls finisher among Baton Rouge area runners was Addie Burleigh, of Catholic High-Pointe Coupee, who finished fifth in 19:29.
East Ascension’s Tayla Grieff finished 11th, and St. Joseph Academy’s five scorers all finished between 13th and 25th places, including Mary LaHaye (13th), Elise Richard (15th) Sarah Leblanc (19th).
Dominican-New Orleans won the girls team title with 83. Mia Meydrich was second overall in 19:13 to pace Dominican, which also placed Lisa Sakamota (seventh) and Grace Williams (eighth) in the top 10.
St. Joseph’s was second (89), followed by Mount Carmel Academy-NO (115), Covington’s St. Scholastica (144) and Fontainebelau-Mandeville (207).
Episcopal’s Christian Johnson (15:23) was second in the boys race with Zachary Albright, of St. Paul’s-Covington, third in 15:29.
Catholic’s Joseph St. Cyr (sixth), University’s Hank Patrick (seventh), Episcopal’s Bryan Stamey (ninth) and Ascension Catholic’s Zach Capello (10th), East Ascension’s Kaleb Shelton (13th), and Catholic’s Cody Favaro (18th) were also in the top 20.
Boudreaux said there has never been a tie in the team competition, and he could not remember the title being decided by a single point before. Episcopal coach Claney Duplechin was philosophical about the one point difference.
“It was a great race,” Duplechin said. “I’m not surprised. We’re 2A, but we like to think we can run with anybody.
“We’ve had some good workouts this week. We backed off a little bit — not much — but a little bit. I knew it would be close, but it (a one point loss) isn’t new. In all these years I’ve had a few.
“I think it will be a motivation. And I’m very proud of Christian Johnson. He ran a lifetime personal best and was only four seconds off the school record.”