It was a show of strength as St. Joseph’s Academy and Catholic High dominated the field in the Baton Rouge Metro Meet for cross country on Monday.

Defending Class 5A state champion SJA placed all seven of its runners in the top 15, including all five who scored in the top six in the girls division. The Redstickers tallied 20 points to outdistance a 15-team field with Episcopal (111), East Ascension (120) and host St. Michael the Archangel (135) finishing next.

Catholic, last year’s 5A runner-up, also placed seven runners in the top 15, including five scorers in the top 10. The Bears had 26 points, ahead of Episcopal (64), St. Michael (111) and Ascension Catholic (118) in a field of 19 teams.

The individual varsity races were the show within the show once again. And once again, Christian Life Academy’s Anna Katherine Devitt and Catholic’s Cole Stafford were the winners in the final tune-up for next week’s LHSAA State Meet in Natchitoches.

Devitt won the three-mile girls race in 18 minutes and 21 seconds despite warmer temperatures, finishing 13 seconds ahead of SJA’s top finisher, Kassidy Noto (18:34).

“I hadn’t raced a lot lately, so I was excited and even a little nervous before the race,” Devitt said. “It was a little hot, but it was a good day to run.”

Stafford covered the first two miles 9:55 and looking to break former Catholic High runner Robby LeBlanc’s Highland record of 14:53. He finished in 15:05, one of the top times ever run at Highland by a high school boy.

“I wanted to break 15,” Stafford said. “The second mile was my best part of the race. I guess the heat and humidity was a factor.”

The show of strength by SJA and Catholic was notable. Andree Laville (third), Mary LaHaye (fourth) and Elise Richard (sixth, scored fifth) and Annie Peek (seventh, scoring six) were the other leaders for SJA. Parkview Baptist’s Morgan Schuetz (fifth) was also in the top five.

“I’m happy with the way they ran,” SJA coach Sam Young said. “They ran hard today in warm weather, really a lot of effort with our top runners.”

Episcopal’s Christian Johnson (15:33) was the boys runner-up. Joseph St. Cyr (third), Brian Primeaux (fifth), Hunter Baudier (eighth) and Brennan McLean (ninth) were Catholic’s other leaders. Ascension Catholic’s Zach Capello (fourth) was also in the top five.

“We really competed well and we needed a little something to give us a jolt before we go to Natchitoches,” Catholic coach Pete Boudreaux said.