St. Pius X Sweeps 4A Team Titles

St. Pius X Team Champs


My oh my, how the atmoshere of the State meet and the course itself can turn things around. Denmark was on fire in October and after their win at 7-AAAA looked like a slight favorite to take it all. But wily St. Pius had a game plan theirselves, it seems of holding something back the past few weeks for the big bonanza. If so, it worked as the Golden Lions roared thru morning chill with their top 5 placing in the first 14 spots amassing only 49 points to capture their 8th title in the last 10 seasons! Earning All-State honors for St. Pius X were senior Chad Dewitt placing 3rd overall at 16:49 and Patrick McDonald finishing 9th at 17:10  

Chad Dewitt (r)

Coaches Comments, "6 of our 7 runners have never won before, and the one who had just took charge and set the tone for us early, so it was a really special day. They have slowly improved every race this year, even though most races we had to run a split squad since we had so many guys so close fighting for the 3-7 spots. Basically our motto this year was "keep showing up." I'm really proud of them because they're a really fun group that took that to heart. They definitely went into the race nervous, but determined. I told them before the race to just have fun and run their race. They opened up in good position but still with room to move. They moved really well the 2nd mile and then more or less just held strong the 3rd mile, working together as a pack mostly at 2-7. One of our assistants said it was fun seeing our "golden wave" moving well the second half of the race. We have a great group of kids who really like running together. It's been alot of fun watching them grow as a team this year.

(photos by Marc Logan)

Justin Watchel Overall Champ 

Justin Wachtel of Mary Persons warmed up for Foot Locker South strolling thru the 2 loop course unchallenged setting down the fastest time of the day posting a 16:41. Rounding out the All-State team were the North Oconee duo of Davis Potts who placed 5th in 16:54 and senior Alex Thomas who posted a 16:58. Henry Plowden of Westover HS (Albany) fared well on the hills placing 8th overall in 17:08. 

Luke Gaddis 2nd Overall

Ethan Ashley

Denmark easily took runnerup team honors with 101 points led by Ethan Ashley's 4th place effort of 16:52. Oconee County had a nice race taking 3rd as a team with Jack Stansell crossing the mats 7th in a time of 17:00 and Chestatee made the Podium for perhaps the first time in many years behind Luke Gaddis' strong 2nd place performance of 16:41 and Johnathan Torres Cruz's 10th place run at 17:10.

Chasing Watchell


Vaden (L) led the Golden Lions

St. Pius X Team Champs (St. Pius photo)

St. Pius X was beaten by Marist at least 3 times this season. And they didn't forget, instead the Golden Lions saved their best for last, overcoming the odds winning their first XC title in 7 years (2012) St. Pius X was onscript remaining strong upfront with Morgan Vaden placing 4th (19:06), Catherine Breault 5th (19:15.16) and Mary Brady 7th (19:15.90), the difference was a pair of freshman, including Hannah Schemmel taking 12th (19:46) and Grace Vonbiberstein 18th (20:42), pushing the Golden Lions to a 4 point win over a surprising Blessed Trinity squad.

Catherine Breault & Mary Brady

Coaches Comments, "What a day. BT, Marist, and Oconee County are amazing teams who could win almost any year. This has to be the best 4a race ever and featured maybe 3 of the best 5 teams in the history of the state. I hope people realize how special that race was and how talented all of those girls are. Our girls were of course nervous, but Mary Pat and I sat them down on Wednesday and showed them some math. We showed them what it was going to take to win it, and I'm not sure they truly believed it was possible until that meeting. Yesterday they went out and executed perfectly. Morgan ran that race entirely for her team and that says quite a bit about her character having to do so much leading in the wind. Mary and Catherine just worked together fixated on the team goal and gave it everything they had the second half. Hannah ran the race we knew she could run, Grace did enough to bring it home, and Aggie and Cala both ran the best races of their seasons helping us put all 7 in the top 25 of a loaded field. We are so proud of them and the hard work and consistency they've shown all season. It's just a special group that really wanted it and did what it took to make it happen"

Sutterfield & Miniutti

The Titans' got off to a big start sweeping the top 2 spots with Hannah Miniutti claiming the Individual crown in a time of 18:51 followed in by runningmate Kelly Ann Sutterfield at 18:57, 3 big points. Katie Hamfelt was also key coming in 8th clocking a 19:33  Marist's string of 11 state titles came to an end as the War Eagles had to settle for 3rd in the team standings 4 points behind Blessed Trinity.

Champ Hannah Miniutti

Earning All-State honors for Marist were Kathleen Schellman placing 6th overall in 19:15 and Nora Solomon 10th at 19:42. Oconee County once again ascended the Team Podium behind their top 2 duo of frosh Emma Champer who was 3rd overall going 19:03 and Phoebe Brodrick taking 9th place in 19:39

The The Race is on..

Jenna Champer


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