COLUMBIA There were a few new ones mixed in, but the same result for the St. Joseph’s girls cross country team.
The Knights won the Class A state championship for the sixth consecutive year Saturday at Sandhills Research Center, becoming just the second girls team in the history of the state meet to achieve that feat.
Irmo, which won six titles in a row from 1977-1982, is the other.
St. Joseph’s had 44 points. Southside Christian was second with 55, followed by Greer Middle College (59) and Christ Church (79).
The Knights placed five on the all-state team, including freshman Katherine Uprichard, who was injured last year and finished ninth in her first full season; and seventh-grader Caroline Linen, who’s running for the first time.
“I have three captains that are seniors who did an awesome job of role modeling and mentoring these little ones,” St. Joseph’s coach Marie Kernell said of Sara Catherine Masaschi, Hannah White and Bailey Mullins.
Masaschi and White also made the all-state team, finishing eighth and 15th, respectively.
The Knights were led by freshman Annika Bissinger, the champion the past two years but runner-up this time to Greer Middle College freshman Morgan Summey, who finished in 18 minutes, 44 seconds. Bissinger was second in 19:33.
“Annika’s pushed me all year, and she’s such a sweet person and she’s encouraged me,” said Summey.
Summey said she “went all out” at about the two-mile mark, but she was being pushed from the outset.
“Honestly, I felt like something was chasing me the whole time, and I was just trying to get away,” she said. “That’s how I push myself.”
Eighth-graders Madison Patrick (19:43) of Southside Christian and Victoria Patterson (20:02) of Christ Church were third and fifth, respectively.
One year after coming in second to Greer Middle College, the St. Joseph’s boys won for the third time in four years and made it a Class A sweep.
The Knights, led by state champion Ford McCoy (16:47), had four of the top five and finished with 24 points.
“Losing is good if you learn from it, and these guys came back really hungry,” said St. Joseph’s coach George Carr. “My seniors, that’s what did it. I was very lucky this year. I had four committed guys, (including) one brand-new runner who’s never run this course before.”
That was Jeffrey Fann (17:21), who finished third behind McCoy and Christ Church’s Walker Cullen (17:12). The Knights’ other seniors were Carter Powell, Nathan Petrofes and David Asbury.
Powell (17:31) finished fourth, and teammate Alfredo Diaz-Santillan, a freshman, came in fifth (17:37). St. Joseph’s freshman Zac Palmer finished 11th (17:56).
McCoy, a junior, said he made his move right before the two-mile mark.
“I knew there a couple people who were going to stick with me, and I just knew I needed to push the pace,” he said. “Then after the hill is when I knew that I really needed to go if I wanted to win, and that’d what I did, and I dropped them a little bit and won.”
Greer Middle College’s Jacob Hudson was sixth (17:43) and his Blazers were second (71), and Brashier Middle College’s Will Trone was seventh (17:44) and his Bengals were third (73).
In the Class AA girls race, Liberty’s Hanan Balawi finished fourth. Powdersville’s Josh Moore made all-state by placing 13th among Class AA boys.