Home Local Sports Ursuline and Padua repeat as girls cross country champions; Salesianum edged in...

Ursuline and Padua repeat as girls cross country champions; Salesianum edged in boys’ meet

Ursuline (black) and Padua (white) begin the girls' race at the Joe O'Neill Invitational last October. (The Dialog/Mike Lang)

Ursuline captured its second consecutive Division II cross-country state championship on Nov. 9, and it took a total team effort, particularly from the Raiders’ non-scoring runners. By placing all seven runners in the top 19, the Raiders were able to hold off Catholic rival Saint Mark’s, 50-52, at Killens Pond State Park.

The Raiders’ scorers – Anna Pryor, Laini McGonigle, Clare Kornacki, Emily Rzucidlo and Ava Lindia – placed between fifth and 15th. Saint Mark’s received a phenomenal performance from its team, with Tiffany Herrera (second overall), Natalie Donaldson (third), Jordan Ormsby (seventh) and Stephanie Herrera (ninth) putting them in favorable position.

Tiffany Herrera, shown running at the Joe ONeill Invitational in October, finished second overall in the Division II state meet.

But Ursuline’s final two runners, Brighid Deely and Isabella Lindia, placed 18th and 19th, respectively, and when Saint Mark’s final runner crossed the finish line, it was not enough to overcome the Raiders. It was Ursuline’s 13th state title. The Spartans moved up one place from their 2018 finish.

Archmere’s five scorers were bunched between 22nd and 33rd place, which was good enough for fifth place. The Auks’ Emma Villaverde came in 22nd, the best finish of any senior in Division II.

Lydia Colasante of Tatnall was the individual winner with a time of 18:48.90, which was 4.4 seconds ahead of Herrera.

Padua continued its stranglehold on the Division I crown. The Pandas placed all five scorers in the top 21, including individual champion Judy McLaughlin, on the way to a comfortable 55-102 win over Charter School of Wilmington.

Judy McLaughlin, shown in a meet in October, was the Division I individual champion, and her Padua Pandas won the state championship on Nov. 9.

McLaughlin finished in 19:04.40, nearly six seconds ahead of Charter’s Maya Bordrick. The other Pandas scorers were Mary Katherine Dorsey (10th), Geneva Laur (11th), Elena Bocchetti (12th) and Mackenzie Speed (21st). McLaughlin is a junior, while the other four are sophomores.

It was the 20th overall state championship for the Pandas and their seventh consecutive.

In the boys’ Division I meet, Salesianum produced the individual champion in Aidan Higley, but even with four runners in the top 13, the Sals couldn’t overcome the team effort of Wilmington Charter School. The Force’s five scorers all placed in the top 15, and they edged the Sals, 39-42.

It was Charter’s first title since 2016, when they also defeated runner-up Sallies. This season marks just the seventh time since 1975 that the Sals did not win the title.

Aidan Higley of Salesianum finished second in this race, but he was the Division I boys individual champion Nov. 9 at Killens Pond State Park.

Higley finished in 15:49.40, which was 2.8 seconds better than Charter’s Andrew Avila. The other Sals scorers were Ryan Banko (third), Conor Ryan (ninth), Michael Migliore (13th) and Matthew Filliben (16th).

Higley, a senior, is the second member of his family to win an individual title for the Sals. His father, Tom, won the event as a junior in 1984 and again as a senior in 1985.

In Division II boys, Tatnall’s Declan McDonnell won the individual crown with a time of 16:03.90. The top finisher from a Catholic school was Jack Vito, a junior at Saint Mark’s, who came in at 16:33.30. Archmere was close behind, with Owen Phillips placing seventh.

The Auks had a great day, finishing in third place behind Wilmington Friends and Tatnall. Saint Mark’s was not too far behind in fifth. St. Elizabeth was 17th out of 30 teams.