By John Knebels
Special to The CS&T

In the Catholic League cross country championships Oct. 24, Cardinal O’Hara’s girls and La Salle’s boys did what they usually do – they won.

O’Hara was led by Nicole DelGrosso’s first-place finish. She completed the 3.1-mile course at Belmont Plateau in 21 minutes, 23 seconds to help the Lions win their sixth straight title and 14th overall – by far the most of any Catholic League school. Fiona Egan (fifth), Emily Creighton (eighth), Brittany Boyer (ninth) and Bridget McDermott (12th) also placed.

Although Father Judge’s Tom Kehl took first overall, defeating second-place Chris O’Sullivan of St. Joe’s Prep by four seconds, La Salle won the team prize for the seventh consecutive season when James Stevenson, Shawn Quinn, Tom Trainer and Nick Molloy placed fourth through seventh, respectively, while teammate Seamus Morgan finished ninth.

The Explorers have now won 11 titles, tied for the most with West Catholic, one more than Archbishop Wood and two more than Cardinal Dougherty.

Four days later at the same location, both Catholic League champions continued their success at the PIAA District 12 Class AAA championship. La Salle’s 33 points were 12 better than St. Joseph’s Prep. O’Sullivan and Kehl flip-flopped their Catholic League finish, followed by third-place Quinn, fourth-place Trainer and fifth-place Matt Chung of the Prep.

Meanwhile, O’Hara’s 45 points easily defeated Archbishop Wood’s 72 and St. Hubert’s 74. Archbishop Carroll’s Katie Rodden (second place) was the fastest Catholic League finisher, followed by Carroll classmate Alyssa Bellia in third. Archbishop Wood’s Katie Boligitz and Maura Craney went four-five, followed by three O’Hara runners – DelGrosso, Egan and Boyer. St. Hubert’s Carolon DiFiore was ninth.

Girls tennis
In addition to their cross country exploits, Cardinal O’Hara students had another reason to celebrate thanks to a 4-1 victory over Archbishop Carroll in the Catholic League girls’ tennis championship Oct. 21. Highlights included a singles victory by Hayley Craskey, who remained undefeated for the season. Carroll’s Margo Lesher’s win at third singles allowed the Patriots to avoid a shutout.

Catholic League AA singles champ Katie Gillespie of Lansdale Catholic beat Masterman’s Zoe Toy to claim the District 12 title Oct. 23. She went on to the state tournament Nov. 6 but fell to Allison Kristofco of Bishop Guilfoyle, Altoona, in the first round.

Class AAA football
In the Class AAA Catholic League football championship Nov. 13 at Northeast High School, Archbishop Wood dispatched North Catholic, 21-7. Quarterback Jerry Rahill, the AAA’s Most Valuable Player, contributed 107 yards rushing and a touchdown throw as the Vikings converted 16 first downs to only three by the Falcons.

“He is one of the best I’ve ever coached,” said Wood coach Steve Devlin, who has a bevy of players from which to choose. “He helps make everyone around him better.”

Kevin Murt added 60 yards rushing and two touchdown runs for the 9-2 Vikings, who advanced to this weekend’s District 12 championship.

To their credit, the Falcons remained in striking distance after Eugene Byrd’s 24-yard TD run cut their deficit to 14-7. But Rahill’s fourth-quarter, 23-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Shaw provided insurance. Fortunately, North Catholic’s season will continue. The 5-5 Falcons will face neighborhood rival Frankford at 9:45 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day at La Salle University in North’s last-ever football game.

“Thank God we have that to look forward to,” said Byrd. “That will be our championship.”

John Knebels can be reached at