Weekly Feature

2017-10-05 / Sports

St. Mary’s cross-country teams compete at McQuaid

by TAYLOR NIGRELLI Reporter

The St. Mary’s cross-country teams are taking steps toward becoming competitive programs in the Monsignor Martin League. The girls program is in its second season after being revived by coach Charlie Planz. The boys program is in its first season under Planz. The program had some runners in the past, but not in recent years.

“They’ve had a few runners here or there; I’m not sure if they ever had a full team. Dick Ward coached the team then, at least 10 years ago,” Planz said. “We’re resurrecting the whole thing for both boys and girls. There’s been quite a bit of interest in the boys team, mostly from 10th-graders. We’ll take our lumps this year. We have a young team of mostly 10th-graders.”

The boys team won its first meet as a program last week, defeating Cardinal O’Hara 28-29. This was a tri-meet, so the Lancers also lost to St. Joe’s. They’ll look to move to 3-1 when they take on Gow and Nichols this week. The aim this year is to finish .500 in league and have a good showing at All-Catholic Championships.

“I’m hoping they’ll go .500 in league meets and then finish in the middle of the pack at All-Catholics,” Planz said. “Elijah has an outside chance at making it to the Federation Meet. The top team and the next best three runners make the meet. We’ll see how it goes, but he has an outside shot.”

The team’s top runner is Elijah Lavarnway, who had a strong showing at last weekend’s McQuaid Invitational. Other top runners include Matt Ash, Zach Ash, Brandon Murty, Jadon McCarthy and Barry Curtis, among others. The team is going to the Manhattan Invitational next weekend, where the deep group of 10th-graders will run in the sophomore race. Planz is expecting a big performance from that group.

On the girls side, Libby Benzer is easily the top runner. She finished fourth in the race she ran at the McQuaid Invitational, finishing in 19:06. Anna Schmidt was around 80th of 340 runners with a time of 21:17.

“She had a super race,” Planz said. “For Libby to do that well in such a big race, I was very pleased.”

Benzer is among the best runners in Monsignor Martin, and Schmidt isn’t far behind her. Maeve Lawless and Riley Fay are also among the top runners. The team doesn’t have the depth to compete with the solid top four of Nardin, Sacred Heart, Mount St. Mary and Nichols. The goal is to have as good a showing as possible at All-Catholic Championships.

“We want to be respectable at All-Catholics,” Planz said. “We have two really good runners and we’re hoping the others perform well at the meet. The league is up for grabs. There are about four teams and anyone could win it.”

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