Close finishes, PRs highlight Lady Toros, Saints wins in Daphne Cross-Country meet

Tony Whitehead
Posted 9/29/13

DAPHNE, Ala.—A smooth, flat course and cool temps helped a number of cross-country runners post personal bests times at Trione Park in Daphne Saturday in the DHS Trojan Invitational.

“It’s a gorgeous Day and the course is in great shape,” …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Subscribe to continue reading. Already a subscriber? Sign in

Get the gift of local news. All subscriptions 50% off for a limited time!

You can cancel anytime.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Close finishes, PRs highlight Lady Toros, Saints wins in Daphne Cross-Country meet


DAPHNE, Ala.—A smooth, flat course and cool temps helped a number of cross-country runners post personal bests times at Trione Park in Daphne Saturday in the DHS Trojan Invitational.

“It’s a gorgeous Day and the course is in great shape,” said Daphne CC coach Joe Hutchins. We had some good times mainly because we had some fast competitive kids who pushed themselves and the weather was nice, too. Didn’t hurt.”

Bayside Academy senior Ryan Shankle and Daphne senior John Alan Walker pushed each other to PRs coming in Nos. 1 and 2 while St. Paul’s junior Reece Stevens also posted a new best at third as did his Saints teammate Brett Erickson in fourth. All four cracked the 17 minute mark for the first time. Shankle won in 16:25, Walker ran a 16:31, Stevens turned in a 16:51 and Erickson a 16:59. Baker’s Collin Wood was close at 17:08 for fifth. The third-fourth combo for the Saints helped lead St. Paul’s to the team win over Baker 51-60. Spanish Fort’s young but strong group was third with 97.

In the girls race, St. Paul’s senior Anna Braswell and Bayside eighth grader Mary Catherine Branyon dueled it out from the start to the last 50 feet when Braswell came up with the big kick to edge the young Lady Admiral by one second 18:57-18:58. The pair’s sub-19 PRs pushed each other to finish nearly a minute ahead of the field. Murphy’s Leigh Hoitt took third with a 19:55, followed by Carsandra Pickens of Baker with a 20:15 and Ashlie Anderson of Murphy taking fifth in 20:33.

Sixth place turned out to be big for the Toro girls’ order of finish as Hannah Frain led Spanish Fort with a 20:34 and teammate Linsey Hrabovsky took 10th (21:18) which helped lead SF to a 54-62 win over Bayside which edged St. Paul’s by the minimum score 62-63.

Led by their only senior Katrina Garofano the Toro girls took the first-place trophy with six runners scoring in the top 20.  Spanish Fort head coach Michael Rauch said Garofano has inspired many of the younger girls after persevering through injury the last two seasons.

“Katrina has been a great example of how to deal with adversity’s ups and downs for all of us. She has so much dedication to the sport. A lot of kids have given up, but she has battled and is a leader for us on the boys as well as the girls team. She’s tough. She’s our only senior, period. So having her be such a good leader has made us a better bonded and stronger team overall. She’s not back to her fastest times yet, but she’s getting faster and more solid every week.”

SF was without one of their stronger girls—and their usual No. 1 the last two meets— seventh grader Carissa Jones.

“We had to rest her because of the number of races they are allowed to run in a year,” he said, adding winning Saturday was a bonus. “I didn’t think we would come out here and win, but I knew we would be competitive. Carissa and Hannah have been switching back and fourth as the number one runners, so we sat Carissa out. But we’ve been coming along. We had a great practice on Wednesday and I knew we were going to do something special. But not win with her (Jones) out, but others stepped up. Olivia Swan, our transfer from Maine, Linsey (Hrabovsky) is recently back and that will help us going forward, Katrina had a real good race, Sarah Carrico had a great race and some of our middle schoolers stepped up big today, too.”

Saints boys coach John Brigham said his team won with a combination of strategy as well as speed.

 “We felt coming into today that Baker has the best boys’ team around the Mobile and Baldwin area. They use a lot of teamwork and are real disciplined out there. And that’s a key strategy for us. What we have been working on a lot is being more tactical during the race. Working as a team, staying on pace through key points. I think we stayed together and pushed each other in our groups like we planned. Did that well today and it paid off. If we keep working together like that we can improve a lot and be successful.”

Shankle and Walker were both happy about their times cutting about 25 and 40 seconds off their best 3.1 mile finish to date. They basically thanked each other for the competitive push. Both ran a sub-five minute first mile with Shankle estimating they passed the course one-third mark in stride at 4:56.

“I think we both felt confident enough to pull away from the pack shortly after the start like we did today,” Shankle said. “By the first mile I think we knew it was going to be us two if we kept up that pace. After that I just focused on putting some distance between him and me. But I knew he would push back and he did. Johnny definitely made me run for it today and we both ended up with PRs.”

Walker said the competitiveness kept him close, but he couldn’t overcome the gap.

“We were battling back and forth out there,” he said. “I guess you could call it that. But I just wanted to stay close because if you run with somebody as fast as Ryan you’re going to have a good time. Today would have been a lot of fun to be the day I beat him, especially here in our own (DHS) meet. But he was faster. He opened about 25 meters or so on me and that was it. I closed it some but not enough. But I’m excited about the PR. Might not have done it if I hadn’t been chasing him. But it was a good day.”

Bayside head coach Alan Foster was proud of his teams and said the down-to-the-wire finishes between the top two boys and girls made it exciting.

“That’s what it’s about. Training and learning to push yourself to do your best. Proud of the kids. “Ryan ran a great race and so did MC (Branyon). Both have been training hard and getting better each week. MC is just an eighth grader so she she will get even better. Anna (Braswell) is experienced and ran a strong race with a strong finish. But I think this gives us confidence heading into the rest of the season.”

Full results posted at:

GIRLS TEAM: Team totals: Spanish Fort 54, Bayside Academy 62, St. Paul’s 63, Baker 87, Murphy 149, Gulf Shores 191, Robertsdale 191, Mary G. Montgomery 247, Daphne 255, Davidson 259, Faith Academy 273, Saraland 341.

GIRLS INDIVIDUAL: 1. Anna Braswell, St. Paul’s, 18:57; 2. Mary Catherine Braswell, 18:58; 3. Leigh Hoitt, Murphy, 19:55; 4. Carsandra Pickens, Baker, 20:15; 5. Ashlie Anderson, Murphy, 20:33; 6. Hannah Frain, Spanish Fort, 20:34; 7. Gracie Whiston, St. Paul’s, 20:43; 8. Delaney Klutes, Bayside Academy, 21:18; 9. Linsey Hrabovsky, Spanish Fort, 21:18; 10. Natalie Garcia, St. Paul’s. 21:29; 11. Olivia Swann, Spanish Fort, 21:51; 12. Caroline Vegas, Spanish Fort, 21:53; 13. Bowen Spottswood, Bayside Academy, 21:54; 14. Carlisle Calmetti, Bayside Academy, 21:54; 15. Gabrielle Chunn, Robertsdale, 21:21:56; 16. Sophie Bengel, Spanish Fort, 22:02; 17. Maya Harris, Baker, 22:04; 18. Olivia Smith, Spanish Fort, 22:09; 19. Lisee Conwell, St. Paul’s, 22:12; 20. Peighton Langston, Gulf Shores, 22:20.

BOYS TEAM: St. Paul’s 51, Baker 60, Spanish Fort 97, Bayside Academy 165, Mary G. Montgomery 174, Daphne 230, Davidson 237, Alabama School of Math and Science 260, Murphy 279, Baldwin County 288, Satsuma 11, Robertsdale 310, Mobile Christian 313, Faith Academy 337, St. Luke’s 383, Saraland 391, Blount 409, B. C. Rain 430.

Boys INDIVIDUAL: 1. Ryan Shankle, Bayside Academy, 16:25; 2. John Alan Walker, Daphne, 16:31; 3. Reece Stevens, St. Paul’s, 16:51; 4. Brett Erickson, St. Paul’s, 16:59; 5. Collin Wood, Baker, 17:08; 6. Ash Midyett, Bayside Academy, 17:24; 7. Joey Ferguson, St. Paul’s, 17:28; 8. Leith Rawson, Satsuma, 17:28; 9. Caleb Aikens, Baker, 17:31; 10. Will Kent, Spanish Fort, 17:35; 11. Anthony Edwards, Mobile Christian, 17:37; 12. Nathan Whitton, Baker, 17:43; 13. Jack Morgan, Spanish Fort, 17:45; 14. Geor-Von Johnson, Murphy, 17:46; 15. Dakota Beaudry, Faith Academy, 17:49; 16. Kenny Luker, Baker, 17:49; 17. Conner Denton, St. Paul’s, 17:51; 18. Will McQueen, Baker, 17:51; 19. Tyler Pendleton, Baker, 17:51; 20. Matthew D’Alonzo, St. Paul’s, 17:54.