METAIRIE, La. - The Loyola University New Orleans women’s cross country team captured the team title in the Radisson Hotel Wolfpack Invitational on Saturday morning at Lafreniere Park while the men’s team finished third.
The women grabbed the invitational team title for the second straight year, finishing with 23 points and an average time of 21:45.16. Spring Hill placed second with 57 points while Xavier took third with 65 points.
Three runners for the women’s team had top-ten finishes, led by two-time NAIA National qualifier Madeline Falcone. Falcone was the top collegiate runner for the women, finishing second overall with a time of 20:58.87. Vanessa Righeimer followed at third with a 21:05.13 and Jenna Knoblach placed sixth with a personal best 21:27.03, breaking her previous mark by over two minutes. Rounding out the women’s results, Annelise Rickert ran a personal best 22:13.84 to take 12th, Mary Clara Hutchinson took 17th at 23:00.9, and Elizabeth Gienger placed 28th with a 23:56.76.
“Finishing with three in the top five was great for our first meet,” said head coach Andy Canegitta. “While we looked strong, we will continue to strive for more improvement as the season goes on.”
The men’s team finished with an average time of 18:48.34, placing third with 72 points. Xavier claimed first with 42 points and Spring Hill was second with 47 points.
Kenny Tsao led Loyola, placing fifth with a personal best 17:42. Alex Mayon took sixth, also setting a career best in the 5K with a 17:55.47, and Abraham Thacker finished seventh with a 18:01.02. Alex Hall ran a 19:33.99 for 27th and Lonterio Devaull placed 37th with a 20:49.20.
“We had a few runners out, including Kieran Harper who placed seventh in the event last season,” said Canegitta. “I thought we did well but we need to do a better job in the back end.”
The individual winner for the women was Sarah Skotty with a time of 17:27.77 and Xavier’s Matt Pieri claimed first in the men’s with a 17:08.5.
In the high school results, Jesuit won the boys’ title with 26 points, followed by St. Stanislaus (75) and Northsore (92). Jesuit’s Neal Fitzpatrick placed first, Paul Freese of St. Martins finished second, and Jesuit’s Jake Wilkinson took third.
For the girls, St. Patrick Catholic claimed the team crown with 26 points, with Cabrini High (47) taking second and Louise S. McGehee (81) placing third. St. Patrick’s Kate Bodin placed first with a 20:41.03 and Kaylyn Bellais took second with a time of 21:47.29. Nicole Cook from American Heritage finished third with a 21:53.73.
The Loyola cross country team returns to action on Sept. 25 at the Gulf Coast Stampede in Pensacola, Fla.