Samer Zoughaib’s plan to get his runners ready for the district meet paid off last year, and the coach for Valle’s cross country program saw that approach pay off again this past Saturday, especially for the girls.
Mary Roth finished as district runner-up, Madison Otte and the Valle sisters earned all-district honors, and the Warriors defended their district championship with 53 points to win the Class 2 District 1 meet at Cape Notre Dame.
“I knew coming into today it was four schools competing for two spots,” Zoughaib said. “I also knew that Woodland’s best runner was out for the year, which moves them from top two to fourth. The team that I feared the most was Arcadia Valley. Coach Barzowski has the same concept that I have; peak by districts. We really didn’t run our fastest times on Saturday but we did run smart. I told the girls placement is more important than time. As far as strategy goes, we knew the East Carter girl was going to win the individual title so she was of no concern to us.”
East Carter’s Kennedy Theis won the individual title in 21 minutes 55.25 seconds.
Valle’s Mary Roth continued her improvement with a second-place finish in 22:15.13.
Otte took a little time off for rest this season, and that proved beneficial as she finished fourth in 22:34.06. Nicole and Rachel Valle weren’t too far apart from each other, as they finished ninth and 10th, respectively, with times of 23:29.53 and 23:32.80.
Katie Kertz rounded out the team score with a time of 26:08.79 for 29th. Emily Grither finished in 26:33.34 for 33rd, and Mary Keeley took 39th in 27:41.16.
Only four points separated the top three teams. The Warriors edged Arcadia Valley for the title, as the Tigers took second place with 55, and St. Vincent was third at 57. The state meet takes the top two teams and top 15 individuals.
Woodland (84), East Carter (125), Saxony Lutheran (132) and Chaffee (194) rounded out the team standings.