Belk shines in her first race

Belk shines in her first race

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Belk shines in her first race

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St. Andrew’s moved its girls soccer schedule to spring, giving Delaware a new elite runner.

Louisa Belk, a talented multi-sport sophomore, made her first varsity race a memorable one, with the best time (19:15.4) of all Delaware runners in the Lake Forest Invitational. She finished second by 10 seconds in the small-schools race to D.C. champion Megan Wilson of Sidwell Friends.

Emily Paolucci won the large-school division in 19:37.6, pacing team titlist Padua.

St. Andrew’s pioneered girls soccer in Delaware in 1989, developing fall-season rivalries they did not want to break when the rest of the First State later added the sport and opted to play in the spring.

Belk, also a talented lacrosse midfielder, felt torn between soccer and running. “Luckily, I had the decision made for me,” she said, as St. Andrew’s changed its soccer schedule this year.

“Running is something I always did after other sports. I ran with my siblings for fun but never really ran in middle school,” Belk added. “I find that it really cleanses me from any thoughts or worries. It makes me a more positive person.”

She propelled St. Andrew’s to fourth in its division, won by National Cathedral School.

Paolucci, All-State last year as a sophomore, perfectly timed a late sprint after 3 miles of lead changes, taking command past Tori Vickers of Smyrna, Rebekah Mills of Caesar Rodney, Caroline Subramoney of Charter School of Wilmington and Analise Kaminski of St. Mark’s.

“I tried to be conservative in the first mile. They pushed me in the second. I tried to get lead a few times, but I wasn’t really ready for it,” Paolucci said. “In the last 400, by the baseball field, I knew the course so well that I felt confident in taking the lead.”

Top-20 finishes from Karlee Panella, Erin Spadaccini, Angie Spadaccini and freshman Maddie Olivere gave Padua a 10-point victory over Charter.

Kennedy Wong of Ursuline had the day’s second best time (19:35) among Delaware runners. She was fourth in her race for the second straight year, but 35 seconds faster this year.

Colleen Carney of Archmere also broke 20 minutes. Adrienne Fraczkowski (sixth) and Ashlynne Foley (ninth) led Delaware Military to second among Delaware small schools. Courtney Wallace of Ursuline (20:06) finished seventh.

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