In a battle that drained the winner and left her rival barely able to walk the final 50 yards, Louisa Belk of St. Andrew’s completed an undefeated season, winning the Division II cross country championship after a challenge from Caroline Foley of Tatnall.
“Caroline Foley was amazing. We challenged each other until the final half-mile,” said Belk, whose 18:08.88 made her the fourth fastest girl in Killens Pond history.
“I kept trying to go faster. I knew we were running the fastest we’d ever run,” said Belk. “Afterwards it really hit me that I had never felt like that before. I was completely drained.”
The 12th consecutive Division II champion from the Independent Conference, Belk and Caitlin Porrazzo (10th) led St. Andrew’s to third place.
Foley was the first runner who refused to let the St. Andrew’s sophomore create a prohibitive early lead. She was even fighting for a lead in the final half-mile, earning scratches on her arm as she tried to pass on a late curve bordered by brambles.
Foley wilted in the final quarter-mile, lost almost all her energy and barely finished. Belk was nearly exhausted, her speed reduced as she completed the 200-yard stretch.
Tatnall’s 10th straight team title was its best performance of the season. Kieran Hanrahan completed her return to All-State form in fourth place. Sophomore Jill Reinhardt (seventh) came of age, Kate Hastings (eighth) ran her best in two years and senior Liz Schreiber had a career race to finish 12th.
Adrienne Fraczkowski of Delaware Military Academy, who wore longer spikes to deal with the sandy course, finished second in 18:16, sixth fastest in course history.
Fraczkowski had to run alone, far behind the leaders, far ahead of the rest, for nearly the entire race. “I knew they were going out fast and I just tried to hang on.” She and Ashlynne Foley lifted the Seahawks to an best-ever second place.
Colleen Carney (46th) led fourth-place Archmere. Kennedy Wong (ninth) and Courtney Wallace (13th) lifted Ursuline to fifth. Brandywine’s Alexa Crowell (14th) was the meet’s second fastest ninth-grader. Friends’ sixth place, led by Emily Freilich (16th), was its best ever. Sanford’s Sofia Alfieri, an eighth-grader, finished 11th.