Cross country

By John Knebels
Sports Columnist

As she emerged from the woods with no one remotely close to her, Katie Rodden realized that she was less than one mile away from taking first place in the Philadelphia Catholic League cross country championship last Saturday, Oct. 23, at Belmont Plateau in Fairmount Park.

While spectators enthusiastically cheered and encouraged her to finish strong, the Archbishop Carroll senior experienced an array of emotions – one in particular that can best be described as bittersweet.

“I was really happy that I was ahead, but I started thinking about how this was the last time I would run this meet,” said Rodden. “Little by little, that started to sink in.” {{more}}

Rodden conquered the hilly, 3.1-mile jaunt in 19 minutes, 40.41 seconds. It was a solid time to complete the famed course, and particularly impressive considering that the nearest competitor, St. Hubert’s Teresa Ortiz, was more than 27 seconds behind her.

Although Rodden also finished first in the Catholic League championship as a sophomore, this feat contained more significance.

“Being a senior makes it more special because I will never have that chance again,” said Rodden, a product of Havertown’s St. Denis School. “It’s definitely a great way to go out.”

Asked about the tremendous amount of preparation, dedication and discipline that goes into cross country, Rodden mentioned rest, nutrition and hydration as being keys to her success.

Then again, she said, that could be said for any long-distance runner.

“I don’t think you can just go through the motions and do well at cross country,” Rodden said. “There is a lot of pain involved. There is a lot to work through before and during a meet.”

While Rodden was winning the girls’ meet, Cardinal O’Hara’s Chris Garrity was seizing the boys’ title. His time of 16:25.46 was nine seconds quicker than Archbishop Wood’s Chris Muldoon and was later followed by O’Hara teammates Christian Ostrowski (fourth), Dan Savage (sixth), Chris Pastore (seventh) and Mike Bilotta (ninth).

The five All-Catholics established a league record with 27 points and a decisive league title. La Salle finished second with a solid 49 points.

The girls’ team title went to Archbishop Wood. Considering how strong the Vikings’ have been – they went undefeated during the regular season – Wood winning its first title since 1998 was hardly a surprise.

It also helped offset the frustration of finishing second to O’Hara the past two seasons.

“Winning the championship has been our goal since the beginning of the season,” said senior Kiersten Brown. “We all had to run as well as we could. We all came together and did a great job.”

Brown placed fourth; her freshman sister Kasey was less than three seconds ahead of her in third. Teammates Casey Ortiz, Katie Connell and Kate Boligitz finished fifth through seventh. Wood’s 25 points easily eclipsed defending champion O’Hara’s 56.

Inspanidual Results

1. Katie Rodden (Carroll), 19:40.41; 2. Teresa Ortiz (St. Hubert), 20:08.18; 3. Kasey Brown (Wood), 20:17.80; 4. Kiersten Brown (Wood), 20:20.31; 5. Casey Ortiz (Wood), 20:32.46; 6. Katie Connell (Wood), 20:45.25; 7. Kate Boligitz (Wood), 20:47.59; 8. Amy Kelly (O’Hara), 20:49.55; 9. Iga Kopiec (Hallahan), 21:05.08; 10. Fiona Egan (O’Hara), 21:08.61; 11. Julia DelGrosso (O’Hara), 21:11.25; 12. Claire DelCasale (St. Hubert), 21:18.16; 13. Nicole DelGrosso (O’Hara), 21:23.98; 14. Brittany Boyer (O’Hara), 21:26.51; 15. Meghan Hotz (O’Hara), 21:30.40; 16. Jessica Cosenza (Wood), 21:38.89; 17. Lauren Lamoreux (Prendergast), 21:42.18; 18. Emily Creighton (O’Hara), 21:51.15; 19. Anuska Mercado (St. Hubert), 22:00.71; 20. Carolyn Boyce (Wood), 22:10.40; 21. Gina Montgomery (St. Hubert), 22:19.97; 22. Erin Fleming (St. Hubert), 22:28.58; 23. Veronica Parkinson (Prendergast), 22:36.36; 24. Erin Love (St. Hubert), 22:42.86; 25. Julieanne Groshon (Prendergast), 22:56.05.

1. Chris Garrity (O’Hara), 16:25.46; 2. Chris Muldoon (Wood), 16:34.51; 3. Tom Trainer (La Salle), 16:40.49; 4. Christian Ostrowski (O’Hara), 16:44.91; 5. Owen Glatts (St. Joseph’s Prep), 16:46.99; 6. Dan Savage (O’Hara), 16:51.69; 7. Chris Pastore (O’Hara), 16:56.14; 8. Brian Wolff (St. Joe’s Prep), 16:57.47; 9. Mike Bilotta (O’Hara), 17:04.00; 10. Brendan Stone (La Salle), 17:09.33; 11. Tom Coyle (La Salle), 17:12.34; 12. Seamus Morgan (La Salle), 17:12.60; 13. Alex Chrostowski (La Salle), 17:14.94; 14. Mike Hess (O’Hara), 17:18.68; 15. Jonathan Schmidt (Wood), 17:22.13; 16. Tim Flanagan (Wood), 17:29.12; 17. Jim McShaane (Roman Catholic), 17:30.56; 18. Jake Sacchetti (O’Hara), 17:36.82; 19. John Cordero (Wood), 17:37.25; 20. Colin Sawyer (St. Joe’s Prep), 17:44.99; 21. Mike Ciavarelli (Bonner), 17:47.85; 22. Stephen Monaghan (Roman), 17:48.08; 23. Joey Travaline (Roman), 17:48.40; 24. Kevin Montgomery (Bonner), 17:53.06; 25. Mike Cosenza (Wood), 18:01.72.