Conner Killian, Alicia Stamey claim wins at St. Joseph’s Invitational _lowres

Killian Conner, Rummel cross country runner

Rummel’s Conner Killian wasn’t the highest profile runner going into Saturday’s St. Joseph’s Academy Invitational. By the time the meet at Highland Road Park was over, everyone knew who the junior was.

Killian ran 26 seconds faster than his previous personal best and also got the best of several high-profile runners, including his good friend Zach Capello of Ascension Catholic. Killian won the three-mile race in 15 minutes, 34 seconds.

“I love racing and felt really good today,” Killian said. “Zach is a good runner. We both really train hard. Once I got to the second mile with the leaders, that gave me a boost. I knew I had to start going from there.”

Capello, a multiple time state champion in Class 1A was gracious afterward when describing the race against his running mate from the Gulf States Running Camp.

“I led through the mile and the second mile, and Conner passed me up when we turned to go up the hill,” Capello said. “I stayed with him until about a half-mile left, and then he started opening and I started hurting.”

Episcopal’s Alicia Stamey won the girls title in 18:39, with teammate Hayley Schwab placing fourth in 18:56. Both set personal records.

One key girls storyline was the fact that Mandeville edged host SJA by four points to win the girls title. Ally McCulley finished second in 18:49 to pace the Skippers, who finished with 73 points, just ahead of St. Joseph’s at 77. Chelsey Jones was eighth and Kylie Touchard 11th for MHS.

“It was a really fun race,” said McCulley, a transfer from West Virginia who PRed by 34 seconds. “I’m used to harder hills, so I like this course. We did really well as a team as our top two runners were out.”

Catholic High took the boys title with 87 points. Catholic’s Pierce Hill was fifth in 15:52, Miles McLindon 16th and Brandt Green 17th. Episcopal was second in the boys team race. Kris Jackson (16:20) was 12th, Alex Dunbar (16:31) 15th and Kenny Schafer (16:39) 19th. Shaw (160) was third in the boys team race, followed by Rummel (196) and St. Michael (213).

Mandeville’s Spencer Hollander was fourth in 15:50, Shaw’s Bryant White was seventh in 15:59 and Holy Rosary’s Alex Lewis was eighth in 16:02.

“We’ve been training hard,” Catholic coach Pete Boudreaux said. “Overall, they ran well with lots of personal records. We kept our second to fifth runners close together in time and that’s a good thing.”

The girls race featured some intrigue. Both schools held out a top runner. Mandeville was without Claire Crosby, SJA’s Annie Hill also sat out. SJA was led by Annalane Lee (19:00), Sarah LeBlanc (19:17) and Gabbi Chauvin who finished sixth, ninth and 16th, respectively.

“All the girls ran well,” SJA coach Mark LaHaye said. “We had a lot of PRs. The girls competed all the way to the end.”