The DIAA cross country state championship meet on Dec. 5 looked a bit different than in past years, with waves of runners leaving the starting line instead of one group of athletes. But when the girls’ races had ended, the feeling was very familiar, as Padua won its eighth straight title in Division I, while Ursuline brought home the trophy for the third consecutive year.
All five of the Pandas’ scorers finished in the top 18. That included the individual state champion, junior Katie Dorsey, who tackled the course at Killens Pond State Park in Felton in 19:33, almost 22 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher, Katie Kuhlman of Cape Henlopen.
The other scorers for Padua were Geneva Laur (fifth place), Kylie McCarthy (sixth), Nora Higley (11th) and Annie Shea (18th). Their winning score of 41 points provided a comfortable cushion over the Charter School of Wilmington, which finished second with 105 points.
In the Division II race, Ava Lindia, Emily Rzucidlo and Anna Pryor finished eighth, ninth and 10th, respectively, and Ursuline had all five runners among the top 17. Clare Kornacki finished 12th and Amanda Ballard 17th for the Raiders.
Their total of 56 was enough to hold off second-place Saint Mark’s, who had 80. A Spartan did earn the individual state championship, as junior Tiffany Herrera completed the course in 18:51.20, the fastest girls time of the day in either division. Her sister, Stephanie, took fifth place overall.
Archmere also had a top-five finish. The Auks were paced by Maddie Priest, who came in 13th. She was one of two freshmen who ran for the school.
In the Division I boys race, Cape Henlopen and Salesianum both had three runners among the top eight, but the Vikings’ final two runners were the key to a Cape state championship, the school’s first in Division I. The Vikings defeated the Sals, 42-60.
Salesianum claimed another individual state champion in junior Ryan Banko. He finished in 16:09.30, ahead of Kenny Guy from Polytech by almost five seconds. Jack Steinhoff and Luke Riley finished seventh and eighth, respectively, for the Sals.
In Division II, Saint Mark’s placed fourth and Archmere fifth. Jack Vito posted the fastest time for the Spartans and came in 17th, while Casey Winnington was two spots behind him. For the Auks, John Flanagan was right behind Vito in 18th, and his teammate Owen Phillips took 21st.
Tatnall was the Division II champion, reclaiming the title it lost last year to Wilmington Friends.