Saint Joseph Girls Cross Country Reigning Champions


Alexis Kintzele, reporter

Just when cross country athletes had given up on the idea of having meets despite the coronavirus pandemic, the Saint Joseph Girls Cross Country team had their first meet this past weekend at Stauffer Park hosted by Northwood. Not only did the girls participate in the meet, but also brought home the first place trophy. Three runners received ribbons for placing in the top 15 for varsity and three more for junior varsity. 

Ever since the beginning of season, the meet at Staffeur Park hosted by Northwood had been booked on the calendar for Saturday, August 29th. With the schedule being very tentative this season due to the coronavirus, the first three meets scheduled before the Northwood invitational were cancelled. There had been very little motivation for the team lately with no meets to look forward to but the Northwood meet had finally been something to look forward to to race against some competition. 

Unlike most IHSAA sports, cross country was not allowed to have any spectators this season. Cross Country meets are typically filled with at least 10-20 teams per race with about 7-10 runners per team in each race so the amount of spectators that would gather within the 3.1 mile courses is too many to allow. Specifically for this meet, 17 teams were allowed to enter 10 girls per race, adding up to about 170 girls at most for each race. Thankfully for the Indians, within less than 48 hours of the meet, the Northwood committee changed their mind and allowed 2 parents from each runner to support their child in the race. Masks were required and social distancing was put in place, but it was all worth it to see their kids cross the finish line in a race for the first time in 10 months. 

When arriving to Northwood for the meet, the girls had no clue what to expect. Being a fall season sport, there were many inexperienced runners that had joined the team this season and had never ran in a race before. For example, running for varsity was senior Alexis Kintzele, senior Maeve Kearney, sophomore Kiley McGuire, sophomore Tess Collins, sophomore Ava Rousseve, sophomore Iris Karafa, sophomore Lexi Juday, junior Mary Clare Elliot, and junior Grace Yuhas; 7 out of the 9 runners were either first or second year runners. After winning this meet last year, the team went into the morning feeling very confident in bringing home the trophy for the second year in a row. At a familiar course with perfect temperatures of low 70s, and fans to keep the races going, what else could make that a great day to win? 

As the race started, seniors Maeve Kearney and Alexis Kintzele pulled ahead with sophomores Kiley McGuire and Ava Rousseve creeping up behind them. Throughout the 3.1 mile race, there were many difficulties along the way. About a mile in, sophomore Tess Collins fainted, pulling out of the race. With less than 800 meters to go, sophomore Lexi Juday started to unravel, consequently pulling out of the race. To pull ahead for the team, Alexis Kintzele finished first for the Indians, landing her in 9th place overall with Maeve Kearney coming in closely behind placing 11th and Ava Rousseve placing 13th, all three receiving ribbons. Next came Mary Clare Elliot in 17th, Kiley McGuire in 25th, Iris Karafa in 27th, and Grace Yuhas in 31st. After receiving the ribbons, varsity went up to claim their trophy as well for winning the meet for the second year in a row.

Running for Junior Varsity was sophomore Mia Ritschard, junior Cat Suarez, senior Tiffany Reed, sophomore Colleen Loitz, freshman Franciska Vogel, and freshman Alessandra Romo. The entire group of girls lead a very solid race with Mia Rischard finishing 2nd, Cat Suarez finishing 7th, and Tiffany Reed finishing 10th, all three also receiving ribbons. They were followed by Alessandra Romo in 17th, Colleen Loitz in 21st, and Franciska Vogel in 24th. From those outstanding performances, the junior varsity girls received 2nd place for their hard work and effort.

Overall, the Saint Joseph girls cross country team had a very solid race and is looking forward to a busy next few weeks filled with meets. On Thursday, September 3rd at 7pm, the girls will be racing for the city title for the second year in a row as well as racing in Oxbow park on the following Saturday morning.