Mount cross country cruises to third straight AACA title

by Tom Utescher
Posted 11/25/20

Aside from skipping a few multi-school invitational meets during the regular season, the cross country team at Mount St. Joseph Academy carried on pretty much as normal during this unusual autumn.

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Mount cross country cruises to third straight AACA title

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Aside from skipping a few multi-school invitational meets during the regular season, the cross country team at Mount St. Joseph Academy carried on pretty much as normal during this unusual autumn.

The Magic squared off in dual meets against their league opponents, then participated in the PIAA District 1 championships, finishing 10th among the teams in the large school division. The Magic closed out the 2020 season last Tuesday by winning their third consecutive championship in the Athletic Association of Catholic Academies.

Mount St. Joe amassed a formidable lead in the league meet by taking the first four individual places. The Magic's team score of 23 points put them well out in front of runner-up Villa Maria Academy (50 points) and third-place Nazareth Academy (65).

Junior Mary McGrory, who placed fifth at the 2019 AACA championships, won this year's race in a time of 20 minutes, 21.86 seconds. Her classmate Sarah Hughes came out for the team for the first time this fall, but she obviously caught on quickly as she took second place in the league race (20:54.18).

Third, with a time of 21:20.99, was senior Annie Lemelin, who is best known as the Mount's premier sprinter in track and field. Fourth-place Olivia Forti, an MSJ junior, was not far behind in 21:23.91.

Mixed in with several Nazareth runners and one from St. Basil Academy, four Villa Maria girls landed in fifth, eighth, 10th, and 12th place. Still, with the first four from each team over the line, the Magic held a 10-35 advantage over the Hurricanes in the meet scoring. The Mount victory became official when its fifth runner, sophomore Ciara Fall, finished 13th in 22:34.33.

Feeling a bit under the weather, Mount St. Joe sophomore Maggie Murphy placed 17th (23:18.35). Last year she was the top finisher for the Magic, coming in third overall in under 20 minutes on the same course at Tyler State Park in Bucks County. If she'd been in her regular form, the Mount probably would've shut out the other league teams by scooping up the first five places.

The seventh varsity runner for the Magic last Tuesday was senior Olivia Millevoi (19th; 23:41.11), a team captain this fall along with Lemelin and senior Emily Carr.

With Lemelin being the lone scorer at the championships who'll graduate from the Mount team, the Magic should still be strong going forward, especially since Hughes, Forti, and Fall were all rookie runners this season and should improve accordingly.

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