Senior Jen DeGroat completed the scoring for Mount St. Joseph at the Catholic Academies championship meet. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

At the Athletic Association of Catholic Academies cross country championships last week, Mount St. Joseph Academy duplicated its fourth-place finish from 2016.

Junior Megan Ciasullo was the first member of the Magic to finish, placing seventh overall in 20 minutes, 46 seconds at Tyler State Park in Bucks County. The other four Mount St. Joe scorers were all grouped within seven places and 23 seconds of one another.

In 21st place was senior Mollie Mullen (21:40), and she was followed by two freshmen, Annie Lemelin in 24th place (21:53) and Olivia Millevoi in 25th (21:55). The Mount’s final team total of 106 points was locked in when senior Jen DeGroat crossed the line 28th in 22:03.

Gwynedd Mercy Academy freshman Kelly Murray won the race in 19 minutes and 50 seconds, but the Monarchs didn’t have a lot of depth underneath her. They placed sixth as a team with 130 points, one spot behind Nazareth Academy (124 points), the 2016 AACA champion.

Villa Joseph Marie, who won the league in 2015 and then slipped back to third last year, was back in the top spot this time. Paced by junior Katie’s Irelan’s runner-up showing in 20:05, the Jems posted 47 points to easily outdistance the number two team, Country Day School of the Sacred Heart (70) and third-place Villa Maria of Malvern (81).

Villa Joe’s number two runner wound up in fourth place, while Sacred Heart had individuals place third and fifth, and then had sophomore Chiara O’Keefe come in sixth in 20:41, just ahead of Mount St. Joe standard bearer Ciasullo.

After the scoring five, Mount St. Joseph had senior Jade Killion come in 30th overall in 22:13, and the Magic’s seventh entry, sophomore Lauren Ehnow, was 34th in 22:37. Ehnow was feeling under the weather and performed well below her usual standards. She had been the Mount’s number one runner during the regular season, and at the 2016 league meet she was the second finisher on the team, behind DeGroat.