November 20th, 2013

Elementary Excellence: St. Edward's Cross Country

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Conor Revell

Staff Writer

Elementary Excellence: St. Edward's Cross Country
The St. Edward Braves 5th/6th grade state championship teams / photos submitted by Kenny Stottman

Abigail Bohn, Sarah Wilkinson, Taylor White, Julia Connelly, Morgan Rutledge, Anna Grace Ashbrook, Rachel Greathouse, Jennifer Lopez, Sarah Webber, Chloe Griffis, and Emily Webber led the St. Edward Braves to a fifth/sixth grade state championship a few weeks ago.

“It kind of cool that cross country and track are the only sports that the CSAA can actually compete at the state championships,” St. Edward head coach Kenny Stottman said. “Our fifth and sixth grade girls won the city which is a huge accomplishment but to go out and win state is really special considering how huge the sport is in middle school. There were over 4,500 participants over the weekend at the different levels. It’s a huge deal.”

St. Edward’s fifth/sixth grade runners competed in an event with 323 runners and won fairly handily with 63 points. Goshen Elementary was next closest with 86 points while Dunn Elementary finished with 192 points and wasn’t a threat to the Braves.

It not a surprise that the Braves have so much success at cross country considering Stottman’s niece Emily Bean helped Assumption win four straight state titles at the high school level.

That capped off the Braves special season, which gave them a victory at all but one of their meets this season.

“I thought it was special,” Stottman said. “It’s not that often considering that our school is not a big school that we could do this. Our talent pool is limited compared to some of the other schools. We were blessed to have a bit of talent and they were willing to put in the extra work to achieve their goals of winning city and state. We had 42 girls to choose from, but typically you don’t have that. Some of the schools have more than 100 kids to choose from. It’s not that often maybe once a decade to win the title.”

This is the second straight year the Braves have won the state championship which is remarkable because a number of the girls play another sport.

“The parents were willing to put in the extra time,” Stottman said. “Some of the kids play volleyball and this and that so that made it tougher. But they knew we had a special group so the parents and everybody else were committed to going the extra step to get them to practice and things like so that we could compete.”

Wilkinson and White led the way by coming in the top 10. No other elementary school had more than two runners finish in the top 10. 

“I wasn’t real sure that we could pull it off,” Stottman said. “There were about four teams that we were equal with and for them to actually win it is great. Actually it was a little easier than expected so that was nice. Everybody ran their best race of the year.”

Bohn placed 17th while Rutledge came in 40th, and Ashbrook came in 42nd.

Lopez and Connelly also both placed in the top 100 giving the Braves six runners in the top 100.

“Our top couple of girls are usually in the lead pack at all of the races,” Stottman said. “My strategy was that I wanted all seven of our runners to be within a minute of the lead pack. If all of them were within a minute of that lead pack then they would probably be in the top 50 or 60. If you can put four or five in the top 50 or 60 then you’re probably going to have a good chance. They pretty much did that. All seven of them finished in the top 65, so I was really proud of them.” 


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