Paced by individual champion Mia Reed, the Washington cross country Lady Jays won the Sullivan Invitational Cross Country Meet title Tuesday.
Reed crossed the line in 20:32, the first of five Washington runners in the top 10.
“We kept things rolling at Sullivan with another very strong team performance, as all three of the boys and nine of the girls earned top 20 medals,” Washington Head Coach Mike Olszowka said.
Union’s Gabriel Hoekel led all boys, posting a time of 17:54.74, to win the individual title.
As a team, Washington’s girls recorded 31 points to claim the overall title.
Union finished second in both the girls (41 points) and the boys (28).
Rounding out the team standings on the girls side were St. Pius X (68), Sullivan (97) and Fox (120).
Fox, which had five finishers in the top 10, grabbed the boys team title at 42 points.
Union, which had three top-10 finishers, was second.
“Standout races on the boys side came from Gabe Hoekel, who ended up winning his first meet, and his brother, Lucas Hoekel, who has become our No. 5 scorer,” Union Head Coach Sarah Meiners said. “Both of them ran season bests, beating their times at New Haven by over a minute. The standout race on the girls side came from Anna Brakefield. Anna had a fantastic second half of the race — this is the strongest I’ve seen her in the back half of a race.”
Following Union were Washington (90), Bourbon (97) and Sullivan (105).
Following Reed for the Lady Jays in the top 10 were Julia Donnelly (fifth in 21:19.24), McKenna Jacquin (seventh in 21:50.19) and Jessica Donnelly (10th in 23:00.05).
Other Washington runners were Leah Wheeler (14th in 23:47.78), McKenna Deckelman (17th in 24:31.32), Lindsay Sprung (17th in 24:31.32), Mia Mahon (20th in 25:02.64), Allison Meyer (22nd in 25:27.93), Cierra Loepker (24th in 26:02.23), Kendra Bliss (28th in 26:26.55), Avery Johnson (41st in 29:24.37) and Zoey Ziegler (46th in 30:43.13).
Union’s girls were Brakefield (third in 20:46.15), Ella Coppinger (sixth in 21:39.88), Kelsey Brake (ninth in 23:07.08), Jessi Clark (11th in 23:26.94), Carrie Evers (12th in 23:40.03), Emma Tucker (25th in 26:11.24), Olivia Mehringer (45th in 30:18.18) and Lillie Zimmermann (48th in 31:05.09).
On the boys side, Union’s finishers behind Gabriel Hoekel were Dominick Beine (third in 18:39.05), Hayden Monroe (ninth in 19:49.37), Lucas Hoekel (12th in 20:15.47), Aiden Borgmann (21st in 21:54.88), Cole Cudney (31st in 24:26.39) and Kyle Cudney (32nd in 24:26.97).
Washington’s boys were Ethan Bliss (eighth in 19:43.90), Benjamin Scheperle (11th in 20:12.02), Logan Luttrell (14th in 20:50.21), Adric Montgomery (40th in 26:31.60), Cirdan McNamee (41st in 26:33.24) and Joshua Gruber (50th in 34:12.69).
Meiners indicated the meet just finished before bad weather hit the course.
“The weather held out just long enough to get the meet in,” Meiners said. “In fact, the approaching storm lowered the temps a little bit which helped us out. All of our runners looked strong yesterday for the quick turnaround from the last meet (last Saturday at New Haven).”
Olszowka said his team has worked around the COVID-19 pandemic.
“COVID-19 has put us into a tough situation, but we are making the most of it,” said Olszowka. “We have moved our practices to help accommodate people that need to be home to help with family responsibilities. Everybody has been great and working together and understanding the reasons we are making these sacrifices. We say that we are in this for the kids, and with the sacrifices that both the families, the runners and the coaches are making, it is easy to see that is true.”
Meiners said the Sullivan meet gave her team the chance to work on some strategies.
“We actually used this meet as a chance to try out some racing strategy,” Meiners said. “Both our varsity teams have a lot of potential this year, so we have to learn how to race together and push each other to push to higher team finishes. Today was all about trying out more of a ‘pack mentality.’ We will improve on what went well and what we failed at when we head to the Forest Park meet this Saturday.”
Olszowka has goals that go longer into the season.
“Once again, I think the workouts are working and we are in the right place mentally,” Olszowka said. “From here, we are just hopeful that our season is not cut short and that we can stay healthy and make a run to the state championships.”