By a razor-thin margin, Royal Oak Shrine’s girls’ cross-country team captured its second Catholic League title in three years Saturday at Kensington Metropark near Milford.
Shrine placed its top five runners in the first 17 and finished with a low total of 51 points. Last year’s champion, Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard, had 53, and this year’s regular-season champion, Allen Park Cabrini was third with 54.
“We knew it would be close, but Wow!” Shrine coach Wright Wilson said. “We really got a gutsy race from our girls. Going into the third mile, which was the toughest part of the course, we were probably not ahead, but everyone dug deep and finished strong, and things turned into our favor.”
Morgan Button was Shrine’s top finisher, placing fourth in 21:12. Madelyne Luddy (9th/21:38), Grace Nagle (10th/21:39) and Gabby Schmidt (12th/21:57) finished as a pack, while Clare Romano (17th/22:52) completed the scoring. Lexi Cavanaugh (28th/24:44) and Irene Dooley (38th/25:56) also competed for the Lady Knights.
On the boys’ side, Ben Kendell was the Catholic League individual champion for the second straight year, finishing in 16:58, nearly a minute ahead of the runner-up. Matt Arce (6th/18:43), Mike Guirey (9th/19:05), Connor Lockman (15th/19:31) and Scott Proschek (27th/20:21) helped the Knights total 58 points, which placed them second, just six back of Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard.
“We had been anywhere from first to fourth as a team during the regular-season meets, so we think second was a pretty good effort for our guys on Saturday,” Wilson said.
Next for Shrine will be the MHSAA state regionals, on Saturday at Goodells County Park near Port Huron. The girls have won the regional for the past four years – only five teams statewide have done that – while the boys have captured the last two titles.