The humidity level took away the chance for extremely fast times at the Class 5A, Region 2 cross country meet. That factor may have helped take the competitive level up a notch.

“I told the guys, ‘You can’t worry about your split times. We’ve just got to race,’ ” Catholic coach Pete Boudreaux said. “At a meet like this, you have to get places and try to stay close together. I thought we ran well, regardless of the outcome.”

The outcome was the best possible for the Bears. Catholic won the boys title and St. Joseph’s Academy was the girls champion Saturday at Highland Road Park. The top eight teams and 25 individuals advance to the LHSAA State meet set for Nov. 14 in Natchitoches.

SJA’s Lauren Hendry and Adam Wise of Fontainebleau were predictably the individual winners of the three-mile races. Hendry won the girls race in 18 minutes, 26.3 seconds, while Wise finished in 15:25.8.

Neither runner came close to their top time, but both were satisfied.

“We were prepared and had a strategy going,” Hendry said. “Just to come out here and run as a pack was what we wanted. The air was thick, but it turned out fine.”

SJA’s Isabelle Brown was second and Mandeville’s Carlin Beal placed third. SJA had the low score of 22 points. Mandeville at 39 and Live Oak at 128 were next. The Redstickers had three of the top four finishers and put five runners in the top 10.

“They probably didn’t run as fast as they wanted to,” SJA coach Mark LaHaye said. “Our No. 3 finisher Sophie (Martin) did PR today. They did what they needed to do.”

St. Paul’s and Catholic each had three runners in the top 10. The Bears won by having the 11th and 12th place finishers. Catholic tallied 43 points, just ahead of St. Paul’s at 52. Mandeville was third with 92.

Wise was never seriously challenged and finished 26 seconds ahead of Mandeville’s Henry Snyder. Collin Hedges placed third to pace Catholic.

“I wanted to go sub-15 minutes, but that wasn’t possible today,” Wise said. “The goal was to win and help my (fourth-place) team get to state and we did that.”

Follow Robin Fambrough on Twitter, @FambroughAdv.