by Tom Utescher
At the 2011 Springside Chestnut Hill Academy Invitational last weekend, the girls’ team from the host institution launched the 2011 season with a new coach and a new rising star.
Diminutive freshman Jamie Costarino breezed to victory in the varsity race, clocking a meet record time of 19 minutes flat on the 3.0 mile course. The old mark of 19:43 belonged to Episcopal Academy’s Kristin Greenwood, who returned this year as a senior and bettered her record pace of 2010, but a final figure of 19:23 meant that the was unable to challenge the young Lions runner at the end.
Costarino was not allowed to compete in varsity cross country last fall, but she showed her potential in the spring, when she raced alongside upper school athletes during track season.
The new coach for SCHA, Ann Keiser, arrived in Chestnut Hill from George Washington High School, where she taught science and also trained distance runners. With undergraduate and Masters degrees from Temple University in Biology and Education, she has joined the upper school science faculty at SCHA. She is a dedicated long-distance runner herself, and plans to race in the Philadelphia Marathon in November.
Keiser finds herself in good company at SCHA, where the new girls athletic director, Tina O’Malley, is a former Temple U. high jumper, and the venerable boys’ cross country coach, Paul Hines, has run the Boston Marathon more times than his legs want to remember.
Although the Lions’ Costarino bagged the individual title, Episcopal convincingly won the team championship, with Greenwood and four of her teammates all finishing in the top nine places. Earlier, in an open-entry race that preceded the varsity events, the top female finisher was the assistant coach for the Churchwomen, Laurie Smith.
Back in the high school competition, EA freshman McKenzie Street was third in 20:33, and five seconds later fourth place was claimed by Mara Kelly, a senior from Springfield High School (which did not have a full team at the meet). The lead runner for Germantown Academy, Tina DeRusso, finished fifth in 21:10, and was followed by Episopal’s Christina Davis (21:30) and Caroline Purtill (21:37).
A basketball standout from Shipley School, Jordyn Turner, clocked in at 21:44 for eighth place, and after EA’s Kira Nakahara finished ninth in 21:49, another Shipley runner, Julia Fisher (21:57) rounded out the top 10 in the standings.
With a team score of 27 points, Episcopal easily outdistanced Julia R. Masterman School, with 81 points, and GA, with 84. SCHA finished fourth with 98 points, followed by Shipley (132) and Abington Friends (159). One of the Lions’ captains, senior Toni Hall, was off taking the ACT exam, and two returning varsity juniors, Kelsea Brewer and Maddi Hinchey, were both out of action due to minor injuries.
The other senior tri-captains are Emily Davis, who was the second SCHA finisher (14th; 22:18) and Liz Worgan (40th; 29:21). One of the Lions’ top young runners from a year ago, sophomore Sarah-Chen Ogorek, came in 20th in 23:04, and her classmate Caroline Canning, a promising beginner, placed 23rd in 23:47.