For all of its success over the years, there are some titles that have been more elusive than others for the St. Xavier cross country team.
One of those has been the Trinity Invitational, a meet that annually draws some of the top teams from several surrounding states.
Saturday though, the Tigers took home the Trinity title – their first since 2012 – at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park.
“I am kind of surprised we won, because Carmel, they’re Carmel, they come here to win,” St. X coach Chuck Medley said of the 14-time Indiana state champion. “We’ll take the win, because it doesn’t happen very often here.”
Carmel, though, did win Sacred Heart’s Valkyrie Invitational, which is run concurrently with the Trinity Invite.
Arjun Jha of Thomas Worthington (Ohio) won the 5,000-meter race in 15 minutes, 21.81 seconds.
“This is our first time coming down here, we’re from the Columbus area, so (I’d) never seen the course before but I’d heard great things about this meet, fast times and all that,” Jha said. “I was definitely looking to run a fast time. I just tried to stay relaxed through the first mile and just make a strong move with a mile to go and see what I could do.”
Tates Creek senior, and Tiger Run winner, Alex Mortimer was second (15:35.39). Trinity junior Trevor Warren was the top local finisher, taking third (15:39.61).
“Once I got to the last mile I just picked it up and just kept passing people,” Warren said. “We did mile repeats the other day (here), so I knew the spots where I needed to make those surges. So I just did that throughout the last mile.”
Manual senior Yared Nuguse finished fourth (15:41.91).
The victorious Tigers, the reigning Class 3-A and 21-time state champions, were led by junior Patrick Schaefer, who finished eighth. Schaefer’s teammates Grady Shiflet, a sophomore, and Cooper Marchal, a junior, were close behind, finishing 12th and 13th respectively.
“I think the team did great,” Schaefer said. “We had a lot of guys step up. We have a couple injuries, but we had even more guys step up and have great races. Our team’s looking great right now.”
The Tigers tallied 96 points – nine more than Carmel. Host Trinity took third with 139 points. Columbus (Ind.) North led the Southern Indiana contingent, placing seventh, while Louisville Eastern was eighth.
Caleb Futter was the top Southern Indiana finisher. The Christian Academy of Indiana sophomore finished seventh for the Warriors, who placed 11th.
Hilliard Davidson (Ohio) senior India Johnson outpaced Lexington Catholic senior Michaela Reinhart to win the Valkyrie Invitational in a course-record 17:23.76.
“Coming down to the last 600 I knew that was where I needed to kick. I had Michaela with me…and she really, really pushed it, and I was glad that she was there to push it to a fast time,” Johnson said. “I thought she had me within the last hundred, but I was able to catch her with about 50 (meters) to go and kick past her.”
Male junior Kaitlyn Lacy was the top local finisher, placing seventh.
“This was my first real race of the season, so I was just trying to go out and get a feel for where I’m at right now,” said Lacy, last year’s state runner-up in 3-A. “I did run in (the) Rumble (through the Jungle last Saturday), but it was more of a rust-buster type race.”
She finished in a personal-best time (17:58.02).
Manual junior Alena Sapienza-Wright, the reigning 3-A state champ, placed ninth.
Carmel, which had five finishers in the Top 14, easily claimed the team title with 36 points
Floyd Central (Ind.) was the top local finisher, placing ninth. Manual, meanwhile, took 12th.
Both Sacred Heart and Assumption elected to compete in the varsity race rather than the seeded race. The Valkyries and Rockets finished 1-2 in it.
Top team scores – 1. Louisville St. Xavier 96; 2. Carmel (Ind.) 105; 3. Trinity 139; 4. Cincinnati St. Xavier 159; 5. Thomas Worthington (Ohio) 179; 6. James Madison 192; 7. Columbus (Ind.) North 239; 8. Eastern 286; 9. Mason (Ohio) 302; 10. Medina (Ohio) 305. Others: 11. Christian Academy of Indiana 334; 15. Lexington Catholic 390; 17. Manual 413; 22. Tates Creek 509.
Top 20 individuals – 1. Arjun Jha (Thomas Worthington) 15:21.81; 2. Alex Mortimer (Tates Creek) 15:35.39; 3. Trevor Warren (Trinity) 15:39.61; 4. Yared Nuguse (Manual) 15:41.91; 5. Andy Payne (Thomas Worthington) 15:42.47; 6. Sean Grimm (James Madison) 15:44.24; 7. Caleb Futter (CAI) 15:50.13; 8. Patrick Schaefer (Lou. St. X) 15:51.54; 9. Chris Reischel (Cincy St. X) 15:58.18; 10. Peter Dauenhauer (Cincy St. X) 15:58.86; 11. Colin Murphy (Carmel) 15:59.38; 12. Grady Shiflet (Lou. St. X) 16:02.20; 13. Cooper Marchal (Lou. St. X) 16:02.22; 14. Zachary Holden (James Madison) 16:04.72; 15. Ty Banks (Thomas Worthington) 16:04.76; 16. Jack Meredith (Trinity) 16:05.55; 17. Spencer Carman (Lexington Catholic) 16:06.75; 18. Charlie Allen (Columbus North) 16:07.07; 19. Will Peters (Montgomery Bell) 16:07.38; 20. Skylar Stidam (CAI) 16:07.96.
Top team scores – 1. Carmel 36; 2. Medina 177; 3. Hilliard Davidson (Ohio) 189; 4. Columbus North 195; 5. Mason 200; 6. Ravenwood (Tenn.) 201; 7. James Madison 210; 8. Huntsville (Ala.) 224; 9. Floyd Central (Ind.) 233; 10. Thomas Worthington 251. Others: 12. Manual 287; 13. Daviess County 323; 14. Simon Kenton 336; 16. Male 367; 19. Oldham County 437.
Top 20 individuals – 1. India Johnson (Hilliard Davidson) 17:23.76; 2. Michaela Reinhart (Lex. Catholic) 17:25.33; 3. Sarah Leinheiser (Carmel) 17:37.22; 4. Annika Sleenhof (Ravenwood) 17:40.40; 5. Morgan Gigandet (Troy) 17:41.84; 6. Christina Geisler (Carmel) 17:55.44; 7. Kaitlyn Lacy (Male) 17:58.02; 8. Samantha Bush (Turpin) 18:06.58; 9. Alena Sapienza-Wright (Manual) 18:09.11; 10. Maddie Dalton (Carmel) 18:18.95; 11. Tarynn Cullings (Medina) 18:28.57; 12. Phoebe Bates (Carmel) 18:29.44; 13. Emma McClellan (Riverdale) 18:33.69; 14. Rachel D. Anderson (Carmel) 18:37.90; 15. Juliette Keller (Medina) 18:40.24; 16. Jessica Hartman (Lebanon) 18:40.83; 17. Olivia Morlock (Columbus North) 18:48.37; 18. Rachel Brougher (Columbus North) 18:50.49; 19. Ellie Brush (Mason) 18:56.12; 20. Addi Coggins (Independence) 18:59.78.