Catholic High and St. Joseph’s Academy dominated the action in a subdued atmosphere at the 42nd Round Table run hosted by Episcopal High on Saturday morning.
The Bears and Redstickers each placed all seven of their runners among the top 11 finishers in their respective races on a day when it was easy day for coaches to keep track of their runners at Highland Road Park, based on coronavirus mandates that limited the number of competitors and spectators.
St. Joseph’s Sophie Martin, a fourth-place finisher at last year’s meet, won the girls race with a time of 18 minutes, 31 seconds. Martin’s teammate, Elise Jones was second at 19:34, and Episcopal eighth-grader Scarlett Spender placed third at 19:35.
The boys winner, Joseph Ellis of Catholic ran a 16:02. The Bears’ Daniel Sullivan was next with a time of 16:07, and Zachary’s Rhen Langley followed in third at 16:18.
SJA won the girls division with a low score of 19 points, outdistancing host Episcopal (68) and St. Michael (88). Catholic went one better with a low score of 18 points, ahead of Zachary (68) and St. Michael (78).
“I felt good about the finish, but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my teammate (Sullivan) right behind me,” said Ellis, who noted the lack of spectators that usually line the course.
“It was different. We’re used to seeing all the people on the sides, but there were just a couple. It was easier to get out (at the start of the race) so that was nice.”
Martin led the entire girls race and was looking to run under 18:30. Despite missing her goal, she was pleased with her race.
“I’m still really proud,” Martin said. “I’ve had a good week of practice, and this was only the second meet of the season.”
SJA coach Mark LaHaye echoed Martin’s sentiment.
“It was good for our girls,” LaHaye said. “We had a time trial (prior to the meet) for all the girls that didn’t get to run. Anybody that didn’t have some type of injury got to run.”
No times were kept for runners outside the top three, and there was no team scoring for the seven schools entered. Boys and girls junior varsity races were also staged giving teams a chance to use as many as 14 runners.
Runners were required to wear masks until seconds before the starting horn, when they could discard them.
The atmosphere was quiet compared to last year, when the meet hosted more than 40 schools and more than 1,300 runners. At the time, Episcopal coach Claney Duplechin said it was the event's largest field. He was equally succinct when asked if he had ever seen the event numbers as small as the 49 varsity runners in each race, based on COVID-19 mandates.
“I haven’t,” Duplechin said. “When we first started 42 years ago there eight, maybe nine teams. But (today) was a good day. It's good for cross country when we can have everyone out here.”