St. Francis Borgia Regional’s boys cross country program captured the Archdiocesan Athletic Association Large Division team title Wednesday at Big Driver.
The meet was shortened to around two miles due to hot weather. The course also ran on only the front part of the Big Driver property and the long Heartbreak Hill on the back was deleted from the course being used for the league meet.
“Overall it was a great day of competition,” Borgia Head Coach Mitch Figas said. “Our parents and volunteers from the Athletic Association really did a great job getting the course ready and making sure everything ran smooth on race day. The athletes were the stars of the day, but the folks behind the scenes made it possible for them to shine.”
Running at home, the Borgia boys captured the AAA team title with 36 points.
Tolton Catholic was the runner-up with 52 points. Lutheran St. Charles scored 70 points to place third. Rounding out the field were St. Dominic (89), Lutheran St. Charles (111) and Bishop DuBourg (149).
Borgia senior Grant Straatmann won the individual title in a time of 11:00.2.
“Grant ran a great race,” Figas said. “Our race plan was to go out a bit easier on the hill and the start and then really push the middle of the race. I think Grant was around fifth at the half mile, but he was really able to move from that point and had a great strong finish too when it looked like it might come down to a kick.”
Junior Drew Snider was fifth in a time of 11:33.6 while junior Ben Juengling was sixth in 11:35.2.
Borgia’s fourth top 10 runner was senior Scott Bonastia, who was ninth in 11:40.
“Ben and Drew both had some physical issues to work through, but again, did so in fine fashion to earn medals,” Figas said. “Scott was out of the medals with 150 to go, but you will not find a tougher racer than Scott and he was able to kick past three competitors to earn an All-Conference medal in each of his four seasons.”
Senior Tony Willenbrink was next, finishing 16th in 11:59.4.
Junior Nicholas Weber was Borgia’s final runner, placing 18th with a time of 12:03.3.
Nathan Forck of Tolton Catholic was second in 11:05.4. O’Fallon Christian’s Callum Hardwicke was third in 11:13.2 with Travis Freund of Lutheran St. Charles (11:25.2) and Snider rounding out the top five.
Borgia placed fourth in the team standings in the girls race with 75 points.
St. Dominic was the winner with 38 points while Tolton Catholic finished second at 45. Lutheran St. Charles was third at 59 points.
“That was a pretty competitive meet and while we were fourth this year I can see us being right in the mix next season when these freshmen get a few more miles on their legs,” Figas said.
Junior Sarah Matt was Borgia’s first finisher, finishing eighth with a time of 14:25.5.
Sophomore Gretchen Overman ended 12th in 14:38.4.
“Sarah Matt once again did a great job leading the team,” Figas said. “She and Gretchen were right there at 4th and 5th for a long time. They couldn’t quite hold on, but just their willingness to get out there and go for it says a lot.”
Freshman Lauren Dickhut placed 18th with a time of 15:32.7, just ahead of freshman Callyn Weber. She was 19th in 15:50.6.
“I thought Callyn Weber and Lauren Dickhut had their best races of the year,” Figas said. “Early on in the race there was a huge pack of girls and I commented that we really needed our middle girls to be in that area. While they didn’t quite get there, Lauren and Callyn really moved well and got pretty close.”
Junior Ainsley Virtudazo finished 27th in 16:26.4.
“Ainsley was running right with Lauren and Callyn as usual when she had an unfortunate fall around the 1.5-mile mark,” Figas said. “It would not have mattered much in the team standings, but I know she was very disappointed that she was unable to finish as strong as she would have liked.”
Rounding out Borgia’s runners were freshman Olivia Bleckman (35th in 17:59.9) and junior Alexa Weber (36th in 18:03.7).
O’Fallon Christian’s Mercedes Schroer was the overall winner in a time of 13:06.5. St. Dominic’s Jessica Bodmer was second in 13:43.2.
Rounding out the top five were Lutheran St. Charles’ Julia Freund (13:58.4) and Tolton Catholic’s Lainey Maddix (14:16.7) and Anna Gangloff (14:17.6).