It’s all about running the fastest times whenever there’s a high-profile cross country meet.
Never underestimate the importance of being in the right place at the right time.
Claire Crosby and Devyn Keith certainly won’t.
Mandeville’s Crosby and John Curtis’ Keith were the leaders on a record-setting day at the St. Joseph’s Academy Invitational.
“I think the adrenaline (and) the good weather (cloudy with temperatures in the 60s) made the conditions perfect,” Crosby said. “I took advantage of that. Two weeks ago, I ran a personal best and today I ran 30 seconds better. It really was a perfect day.”
Crosby hadn’t run the Highland Road Park course in two years and missed most of last season with stress fractures. She pointed down at one leg to show where she had one fracture.
The only thing coaches and spectators were pointing at was the time clock as Crosby finished with a three-mile time of 17 minutes, 32.41 seconds that is one of the fast Highland times ever for a girl. Teammate Olivia Murphy placed third and was one of three runners to crack the 18-minute barrier.
Episcopal’s Alicia Stamey (17:49.28) was the girls runner-up and Murphy finished in 17:59.62.
Keith then shattered the Highland course record by winning the three-mile boys race in 14:30.72 on a day when he wasn’t even supposed to be at the SJA meet.
Catholic’s Robby LeBlanc set the previous record of 14:51 in 1993.
“I’m happy with the record, but it’s kind of a fluke,” Keith said. “I was supposed to run a race in Texas this week. When the rental car reservation got messed up, the plans changed.
“We went out fast and then the second mile was a lot faster than it usually is here. From there, we just pushed it to the end.”
Keith and St. Paul’s Eric Coston battled throughout the race. Keith pulled away late and Coston was second in 14:34.12. Assumption’s Jacob Daigle (15:01.72) and Catholic High’s Jeffrey Kelley (15:02.00) just missed accomplishing the rare feat of going under 15 minutes.
Incredibly, the top 25 boys finishers all ran under 16 minutes on the hill-laden Highland course. The top 10 girls all ran under 19:00, another rarity.
Meet host SJA (girls) and St. Paul’s (boys) won the team titles. St. Joseph’s beat Mandeville despite the fact the Skippers placed three runners in the top eight.
The Redstickers had the low score of 52 points, followed by Mandeville (73) and Mount Carmel (155).
St. Paul’s continued its dominance by scoring 72 points to win the boys title. Curtis (91) and Brother Martin (109) completed the top three.
“Those guys were all running (fast Saturday),” St. Paul’s coach Terryl Chatham said. “Somebody asked me if they changed the course and I told them, ‘No we changed the weather.’
“To see Devyn run what he ran and then see our guy (Coston) run a 14:34 is incredible. That’s a school record. That was fun. We just want to keep working and getting better.”
The Wolves’ Spencer Albright placed eighth.
Rummel’s Conner Killian (fifth) and Brother Martin’s Hayden Courrege’ (sixth) also were in the boys top 10.
Mandeville’s Ally McCulley (eighth) and Isabella Hemb of Mount Carmel (ninth) were other top girls finishers.