Wet and rainy conditions hovered over White Clay Creek State Park on Friday afternoon for the University of Delaware Blue and Gold Invitational. But the boys and girls cross country winners, both from St. Andrew’s, couldn’t have been more pleased with the weather.
“It was perfect weather,” said Louisa Belk, who finished first in the girls race with a time of 19:03.00. “It feels awesome. It was really fun.”
This year is the sophomore’s first running cross country, and Belk wouldn’t have stumbled across the sport if the girls soccer season wasn’t moved from the fall to the spring.
“She’s an incredible athlete, works her tail off in practice and deserves these wins that she’s getting,” said St. Andrew’s assistant coach Jennifer McGowan, who mentioned that Belk has won almost every race she’s participated in this season. “She’s reaching that threshold and really figured out how to race in a more smart and efficient way.”
Belk led the pack through the course but still needed an extra push when climbing hills.
“I have a natural pace that I just stick with most of the time, and I just motivate myself and give myself positivity and it helps out a lot,” she said.
St. Mark’s Analise Kaminski finished behind Belk in 19:25.76, followed by Archmere’s Colleen Carney (19:28.29), Smyrna’s Tori Vickers (20:06.68) and Concord’s Grace Slate (20:11.05).
St. Andrew’s took the girls team title as well with 50 points. Archmere was second (98), and Concord (121) was third.
Friday’s boys varsity race came down to the final second. St. Andrew’s Alex McIlvaine ran neck and neck with Smyrna’s David Hall, with McIlvaine taking first place with a time of 16:46.33. Hall clocked in at 16:47.90.
“I never had to sprint that hard at the end of a race,” McIlvaine said. “[Hall] really pushed me.”
The race was tight throughout as none of the runners held a solid advantage, which kept the race intense until the very end.
McIlvaine, who was pleased that the weather was the complete opposite from last week’s Salesianum Invitational, said Hall seemed to jump ahead on the course’s hills.
“I was trading back and forth with the guy from Smyrna, and I really didn’t take the lead until the final turn,” said McIlvaine of the last 100 meters of the race. “[Hall] was right on my shoulder, but it was exciting.”
Smyrna’s Gabriel Mojica (17:09.47) finished the boys race in third. Archmere’s Colton Takata (17:15.38) and Cape Henlopen’s Austin MacElrevey (17:20.43) followed to round out the top five.
The Auks (95 points) took home the boys team title, with Concord (127) and Charter of Wilmington (140) finishing second and third.