by Tom Utescher
An eagerly-awaited rumble for the Inter-Ac League girls cross country title lived up to its billing last Monday, when the teams assembled for the 2014 championship meet at Belmont Plateau.
Dual meet results had indicated that there might be a five-way fight for the crown, but the Academy of Notre Dame lagged a bit at the big meet, coming in fifth with 96 team points.
Germantown Academy sophomore Abbe Goldstein was the individual champion for the second year in a row, winning in 19 minutes, 45.6 seconds while her team placed third overall with 61 points. Springside Chestnut Hill, which had beaten GA by one point in a head-to-head duel, came in fourth with 68 points.
The battle for the championship itself could hardly have been closer, with Episcopal Academy edging out Agnes Irwin by just two points, 54-56. Penn Charter was sixth in the team standings, with 162 points, and Baldwin School was seventh, with 203.
In 2013, GA’s Goldstein had not won a dual meet all season before rising up to capture the individual laurels at the Inter-Ac meet.
This year, she won all of her league duals, and last Monday she ran alone for almost the entire race.
“Usually, I have people with me for at least the first mile,” she pointed out. “Today, I didn’t, so my mile split was about 10 seconds slower than usual. I ran faster today than I did at Briarwood [a September invitational at Belmont where her time was 20:07] – I just didn’t do what I was planning on.”
Episcopal senior Alexis Malmberg was the runner up in 20:07 flat, just eight-tenths of a second ahead of an athlete that Agnes Irwin will be able to cheer on for another four years, eighth-grader Sanaiya Watts.
GA’s number two, junior Maggie Hallahan, was fourth in 20:16.5, and the leader for SCH, sophomore Terri Turner, was fifth in 20:19.6.
Also among the top 10 individuals were Episcopal senior Katherine Hong (sixth; 20:20.2), Notre Dame sophomore Sydney Stribmy (seventh; 20:25.9), Irwin junior Jessica Crowely (eighth; 20:33.10), Episcopal senior Dana Giles (ninth; 20:36.0), and SCH senior Jamie Costarino (10th; 20:49,7).
The fourth and fifth finishers for Episcopal placed 12th and 25th to complete the winning score for the Churchwomen, while the third through fifth runners for Irwin finished in order, 14th, 15th, and 16th. This trio included one of Watts’ eighth-grade classmates at the Main Line school.
After Goldstein and Hallahan, GA put all of its other three scorers in the top 20. Freshman Kelsey O’Hara was 17th in 22:11.5, senior Olivia Gorman (a converted soccer player) was 19th in 22:15.7, and junior Jillian Silverman came in 20th in 22:19.4.
Filling out the team score for Springside Chestnut Hill were three Blue Devils who each established a new PR as they collected places 13, 18, and 22. Sophomore Rebecca Saunders clocked in at 21:38.5, freshman Allie Kitchell completed the course in 22:14.3, and junior Nicole Novo edged out two rivals at the finish line to record a time of 22:23.7. Inter-Ac sprint champion Brooklyn Broadwater, an SCH junior, made it into the top 30, placing 26th in 22:29.9.
One of the competitors that Novo nipped at the end was the number one for Penn Charter, junior McKenna Krall, who took 23rd place as she shared the same time as Novo. After senior Maya Pressley snagged 27th place in 22:30.8, the Quakers’ contributors to the team tally were junior Emily Smith (35th; 23:37.6), junior Kolby Kaller (38th; 23:46.2), and sophomore Rosemary Kaufman (38th; 23:47.4). One place back at 23:58.2 was Charter’s Avery Shoemaker, a senior who is a UVA lacrosse recruit.