Considering the fact that it was Episcopal’s 40th Round Table Run, there were expectations. What spectators and runners got was the mudder of all meets, at least so far in 2018, Saturday at Highland Road Park.
Four inches of rain that fell on the three-mile course late in the week took its toll. But it did not seem to bother Hunter Appleton and Lauren Hendry. The two seniors made it through the mud and rising humidity to finish ahead of the pack.
“Last week wasn’t great,” St. Joseph’s Academy’s Hendry said. “I was sick during the week and then I felt bad during the meet. So I knew I wanted to come out and redeem myself. We knew what the course conditions would be like, but we knew it was an important meet. We ran for place finishes, not necessarily time.”
Hendry won her three-mile girls race in 18 minutes, 18.56 seconds, leading St. Joseph’s to a team title at Highland for the second straight week. The Redstickers placed five runners in the top 10 to tally the low score of 21 points. Alexandria-based Menard was second at 93, followed by Academy of Sacred Heart-New Orleans at 124. Sacred Heart’s Mary Nusloch with second at 18:25.94.
Brother Martin’s Appleton figured to be the state’s top boys runner entering the season and also did not disappoint, winning in 15:34.78. Though he stayed back with a pack of teammates early in the race, Appleton finished 19 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Samuel Kellum of St. Martin’s (15:53.00).
“It was kind of nasty,” Appleton said. “My coach wanted my to stay back with the rest of the team and I did that for the first mile or so. I’m really excited because I’ve been sick and it was a good, hard race that I feel good about.”
St. Paul’s won the boys division with 76 points, finishing ahead of Brother Martin (89) and Catholic High (91). St. Paul’s coach Terryl Chatham praised his team but also addressed the other huge impact factor after the course — ACT testing — by noting that Catholic and others ran with its top three runners. The Bears did not have their top three runners.
“I’m pleased with the effort,” Chatham said. “But I don’t want them going to bed feeling too content. It will be different the next time we all race.”
The meet attracted more than 1,500 runners and featured a junior high boys race with 470 competitors.
“We knew what to expect from the course and they (SJA) runners adjusted to it,” St. Joseph’s coach Mark LaHaye said.