Just a jog in the park.
Union freshman Anna Brakefield ran to victory Saturday in the New Haven Invitational.
Competing in her first varsity race, Brakefield crossed the line in 20:28.36 to win the individual title by just under 27 seconds over Tolton Catholic junior Mary-Rourke Boyd (20:55.29).
“Our standout was Anna Brakefield running a very smart race and coming out with a big win by almost 30 seconds,” Union Head Coach Sarah Meiners said.
“Anna went out toward the front from the beginning but didn’t take charge of the race until about 1.5 miles in,” Meiners said. “She let the other girls do the hard work, then when her pace felt good and the other runners’ paces were falling off, she took control and went with it. I think she surprised herself by running 20:28 at the beginning of the season and winning with as big of a lead as she did.”
Two other runners broke the 21-minute mark. St. Dominic senior Jessica Bodmer (20:57.77) and Winfield freshman Kadence Berry (20:59.59) were the next two finishers.
Owensville senior Kendra Hults was fifth at 21:04.74 while senior Mekayla Gibson of the Dutchgirls was sixth in 21:05.21.
Union sophomore Ella Coppinger placed seventh in 21:11.64.
“Ella Coppinger also had a great performance coming in at seventh and coming within 10 seconds of her PR from last season,” Meiners said. “Considering she felt a little sick that day, it was a very strong start to the season and demonstrates the offseason work she put in this summer.”
Montgomery County freshman Lyric Ford ended eighth in 21:12.03.
Hermann had the next two finishers. Sophomore Morgan Miller was ninth in 21:18.04 while Clara Scheible was 10th in 21:24.20.
Rounding out the medalists were Chamois junior Katie Keilholz in 21:28.15, New Haven junior Emma McIntyre in 21:30.37, Calvary Lutheran freshman Maddie Homfeldt in 21:31.18 and Tolton Catholic junior Jaclyn Sexauer in 21:31.88 and senior Anna Gangloff in 21:44.10.
“We had a strong performance from Emma McIntyre, who ran a nice time and medaled,” New Haven Head Coach John Tucker said. “Although she was our only medalist, I was very pleased with the effort that all the runners displayed. We are really early in the season and have a ways to go in our training, but are headed in the right direction. I felt all the area schools that attended looked strong and the conference meet will be competitive and fun again this year.”
Tolton Catholic was the team champion with 82 points, one point ahead of the Owensville Dutchgirls.
Hermann placed third with 90 points while Pacific scored 135 to end fourth. St. Francis Borgia Regional was fifth at 142 points.
New Haven scored 145 points to place sixth with Union seventh at 157.
Rounding out the team scores were St. Dominic (190), Montgomery County (194), Calvary Lutheran (225) and Linn (245).
Owensville’s other runners were Sophia Ashner (16th in 21:51.06), Arissa Huff (32nd in 23:44.08), Kiera Finn (35th in 24:00.31), Katherine Candrl (38th in 24:11.04), Macy McKinney (47th in 25:12.35), Kyra Binkhoelter (59th in 25:52.18), Kyah Weirich (60th in 26:00.66), Saylor Richardson (68th in 26:33.54), Molli Gross (84th in 27:09.41), Alexus Wenkel (91st in 28:12.51), Isabelle Bruckerhoff (93rd in 28:30.84) and Savannah McClure (122nd in 34:58.20).
Hermann’s other runners were Katy Menke (17th in 22:07.66), Heidi Hingst (22nd in 22:46.79), Lori Anderson (44th in 24:52.59), Ava Engemann (72nd in 26:39.96), Kaylyn Powers (74th in 26:50.89), Ariana Maddox (110th in 31:41.73) and Gracie Scott (114th in 32:23.85).
Sophomore Katie Prada led Pacific, placing 25th in 22:57.49.
Another sophomore, Riley Vaughn, was 27th in 23:15.82.
Junior Jenna Anding (23:21.05) and freshman Lauren Jackson (23:25.29) were 30th and 31st.
Freshmen Amber Graf (24:08.45) and Carly Vaughn (24:09.42) ended 36th and 37th.
Other Pacific finishers were sophomore Aubry Harris (54th in 25:34.28), senior Carly Clark (57th in 25:47.65), senior Cori O’Neill (79th in 27:00.01), junior Savanna Johlke (83rd in 27:08.22), junior Taylor Monnig (101st in 30:03.38) and freshman Ella Murphy (113th in 32:14.75).
Sophomore Callyn Weber was Borgia’s top finisher, completing the course 20th in 22:40.14.
“Callyn had a great summer and it showed today, moving up steadily through the race and having a very strong finish,” said Figas.
Seniors Sarah Matt (24th in 22:51.35) and Grace Turilli (26th in 23:10.26) were next.
“Sarah Matt gave us her usual solid effort and is a great team leader helping everyone get ready to race,” Figas said. “Grace showed us the aggressiveness we are going to need to be a successful team. When her fitness gets there she is going to be a real factor in these races.”
Lauren Dickhut placed 34th in 23:57.17.
“Lauren Dickhut seemed a little disappointed after the race,” Figas said. “When I told her what her time was, she perked up immediately. A little bolder at the start and she will be right there with our top three.”
The rest of Borgia’s runners were sophomore Hannah Menges (56th in 25:47.34), senior Ainsley Virtudazo (65th in 26:25.47), junior Natalie Guehne (75th in 26:56.88), sophomore Hayle Kromer (80th in 27:01.20), sophomore Olivia Bleckman (81st in 27:01.80), senior Alexa Weber (88th in 28:09.56), sophomore Meredith Little (94th in 28:32.59) and sophomore Mary Hitchcock (104th in 30:43.87).
“From top to bottom, the girls raced very well,” Figas said. “Most of our returning girls improved their times from last year by over two minutes and some by as much as six minutes.”
For New Haven, sophomore Chloe Grater was 23rd in 22:50.90 and was the second Lady Shamrock across the line.
Junior Caroline Otten (24:19.79) and sophomore Emily Delgado (24:20.95) were 40th and 41st.
Senior Grace Allgaier ended 49th in 25:17.95. Rounding out New Haven’s runners were senior Lauralie Grater (71st in 26:37.11) and junior Hannah Borcherding (87th in 27:38.68).
Union’s third runner was junior Jessi Clark, who was 39th in 24:12.04.
Union’s other runners were freshman Brianna Keiser (64th in 26:24.81), senior Pauline Waller (76th in 26:58.12), freshman Lillie Zimmermann (85th in 27:16.05) and sophomore Emma Tucker (102nd in 30:19.76).
“We had a strong start to the season at New Haven. We have a fairly inexperienced team, with three freshman on our varsity team (Anna Brakefield, Lillie Zimmermann and Bri Keiser), and one junior (Jessi Clark), who is new to the sport,” Meiners said. “I thought we ran well today, but we still have a lot to build on. It was good for a lot of them just to get the first one out of the way and see how it felt to race at that distance.”