GFS 800-meter star Sarah Walker is exploring fresh pastures in the fall of her junior year; she has switched from soccer to cross country. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

GFS 800-meter star Sarah Walker is exploring fresh pastures in the fall of her junior year; she has switched from soccer to cross country. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

Germantown Friends track sensation Sarah Walker, now a junior, switched her fall sport from soccer to cross country this year, and she won a 3k race that her school staged at Belmont Plateau last Friday. The GFS X-C Invitational included five boys’ teams and three girls’ teams; Germantown Academy did not field full teams, but had some individuals participating.

Walker won the girls’ race in 11 minutes and nine seconds, six ticks ahead of West Chester Henderson senior Maddie Bixler. GA sophomore Abbe Goldstein, the defending Inter-Ac League individual champion, was third in 11:20.

GFS was the winning team, as well, scoring 28 points while Conestoga High School had 36 and Henderson had 70. Scoring for the Tigers along with Walker were junior Alice Wistar (sixth; 11:30), sophomore Griffin Kaulbach (seventh; 11:35), senior Brigit Andersson (eighth; 11:39) and junior Caitlin Harrity (10th; 12:07). GA junior Maggie Hallahan was 15th in 12:19, coming in one spot behind GFS senior Arielle Frank (12:10).

On the boys’ side, Conestoga High School won the team competition with 40 points while also producing the individual champ. The Pioneers’ Andrew Marston, a senior, won in 8:51, with GA senior Sam Ritz second in 9:03 and GFS sophomore Nick Dahl third in 9:09.

Helping GFS place third in the team standings (with 59 points) were junior Grayson Hepp (sixth; 9:29), senior Joe Newmann (10th; 9:33), and juniors Gordon Goldstein (20th; 9:54) and Zach Schwartz (21st; 9:55). Coming in second ahead of the Tigers with 54 points, La Salle High School received top-10 finishes from junior Patrick Grant (seventh; 9:31) and sophomore Brendan Price (ninth; 9:32). Rounding out the Explorers’ team score were junior Eddie Goebel (11th; 9:33), sophomore Stephen Paul (13th; 9:36), and senior Sean Princivalle (14th; 9:40).

Germantown Academy had Josh Herman and Sam Ritz’s brother Owen running in the boys’ race. Herman, a senior, was 20th in 9:47, and the younger Ritz, a sophomore, placed 52nd in 10:48.

Female runners in the Friends Schools League and the Inter-Ac are well aware of the talents of George School junior Jerrica Bauer, who was the individual victor at both the FSL and Pennsylvania Independent Schools championships in 2013. Last Saturday she led the field at the 47th Annual Mill Street Run in Bristol, where Mount St. Joseph Academy was one of the participating teams.

In the team scoring, Council Rock North High School won with 45 points, C.R. South was runner up with 66, and the MSJ Magic edged out Lower Moreland High School for third place, 80-81. The Mount’s Catholic Academies colleague, Villa Joseph Marie, was fifth with 108 points, ahead of George School (135) and Bensalem High (186).

Bauer won the 3.1-mile race by almost a full minute in 18 minutes, 36 seconds. First across the line for Mount St. Joe was freshman Mollie Mullen, who was eighth in 20:33, while the Magic’s top returning runner from last season, junior Julianna Kardish, placed 11th in 20:53.

The other Mount scorers were seniors Madeline Reiche (16th; 21:26) and Georgia Kelly (22nd; 21:42), and junior Jane Prior (23rd; 21:45).