BRANDYWINE HUNDRED — Any questions about the outcome of the girls’ Division I cross country state championship meet were erased at about 1:20 in the afternoon of Nov. 13. That’s when cheering picked up about 100 yards from the finish line at Brandywine Creek State Park, and Katie Dorsey emerged at the top of the final hill.
The Padua senior was the first across the line, 24 seconds ahead of her teammate, Sophia Holgado. Geneva Laur was a few spots behind them in fifth place, and the final two scorers, Kelsey Wolff and Julia Querey, crossed the line in ninth and 10 place, respectively. The other two Pandas, Mary Flanagan and Jane Mazzeo, came in 14th and 15th, creating even more breathing room for Padua.
The Pandas finished with 27 points, easily defeating runner-up Charter School of Wilmington, on a rainy, windy afternoon at the Creek. It was their ninth title in a row and their 21st overall.
Dorsey, who repeated as the individual state champion, said she used the less-than-ideal conditions as motivation.
“I really used the wind as a challenge. I knew every time the wind blew it was a moment to keep pushing and a sign to go harder,” she said.
She said she was alone for the final mile of the 3.1-mile course, “but I could hear people cheering behind me and there’s so many people in the crowd, plus the girls behind me, so I knew I had to keep pushing for them.”
She was excited about the performance of the Pandas and said the team has been switching its final three runners during the course of the season. She was happy to see the girls who ran at the state meet take advantage of the opportunity on a big stage. It was proof that their hard work paid off.
“We’ve been working on our team culture, not just training, which helps. We just feel like one big team and one big family,” Dorsey said.
Even though the Pandas have been on top for so long, Dorsey said the feeling never gets old. There is also the desire to measure up to “all the great runners that came before us. Just trying to make them proud and follow in their footsteps.”
All photos by Mike Lang.