WALKER — Episcopal’s hopes for success are tied to two runners, Hayley Schwab and Alicia Stamey, to some degree.
That notion took on a literal meaning as relatives raced back to the Knights team area to retrieve Schwab’s race number before the Class 3A and below girls race at the Varsity Sports/Walker Shootout cross country meet Saturday at Hutchinson Park.
To say Schwab took the number and ran with it was accurate. She recorded a winning three-mile time of 18 minutes, 52.81 seconds to help lead Episcopal to the team title.
“Today, my teammate (Stamey) told me she usually ran good times here, and she just relaxed,” Schwab said. “So I tried to do that.”
The Knights were the only Baton Rouge team to notch a victory at the meet. Episcopal finished with 56 points, ahead of Sacred Heart-New Orleans (71) and Hammond’s St. Thomas Aquinas (76).
John Curtis won the Class 5A/4A boys division, while Mandeville was the 5A/4A girls champion. St. Thomas Aquinas won the 3A and below boys competition.
“For a minute there, I thought we might have to start her (Schwab) late after everybody took off,” Episcopal coach Eddie Cole said. “It worked out. We used to offer Walker as a chance to run on a flat course with no hills.
“Kids would improve their times but be disappointed because they didn’t run faster. We didn’t talk about times. Running in divisions gave us a chance to run without St. Joseph’s and Mandeville and to see how we’d do. We focused on that.”
The Knights had three of the top five finishers in the 3A and below girls race. Stamey was the runner-up in 18:59.43 and Adele Broussard placed fifth. Bobbi Amar was third in 19:09.59 for STA.
Choudrant’s Nathan Anderson won the 3A/below boys race in 16:25.06. Jehovah-Jireh’s Randy Carter Jr. was second, Runnels’ Sam Matthews third.
Dylan Dunaway led STA with an eighth-place finish. Christian Life’s Westin Williams and Dunham’s Zane Anderson were in the top 10.
“We didn’t see all the teams we wanted to see,” STA coach Rosendo Vallejos said. “In the other Baton Rouge races, you get beat up by the 5A schools. It was good to run and have some success.”
St. Joseph’s Academy was second in the 5A/4A girls, while Catholic posted a third place in the 5A/4A boys division.
Mandeville finished with 42 points and finished ahead of SJA for the second time in three weeks. The Redstickers had 85, followed by Mount Carmel Academy at 127. St. Joseph’s edged Mandeville last week at the Catholic High Invitational.
Class 3A John Curtis, the top-ranked team in all classes, opted to compete in the 5A/4A boys race and placed first with 71 points.
Individual champion Devyn Keith of Curtis had the winning three-mile time of 15:00.59. Jesuit placed second with 81, ahead of Catholic (90).
Keith’s winning time was comparable to his time on the hill-laden Highland Road Park. Warmer temperatures kept most runners from posting personal bests. Gabrielle Jennings of Class C First Baptist also opted to compete in 5A/4A and won in 17:54.49.
Ascension Catholic’s Stephanie Breaux (fourth). Baton Rouge High’s Kennedy Smith and Denham Springs’ Amber Ferguson were in the top 10. Sarah LeBlanc was 12th to lead St. Joseph’s.
Jeffrey Kelley was second in the 5A/4A boys race, running a 15:34.25.
ACHS’ Zach Capello, Catholic’s Pierce Hill and Baton Rouge High’s Ryan Burrell were top 10 finishers.
“I was pleased because to be honest with you we ran pretty bad last week,” Catholic coach Pete Boudreaux said. “That was a challenge. We had to have a better performance. I think we got that.”