UPPER PROVIDENCE >> Emma Seifried put away her field hockey stick while her sister Hannah was playing this summer.
“I just focused on running,” the Country Day School of the Sacred Heart junior said Saturday of her offseason workout strategy, after she finished first in the small schools girls varsity race at the 27th Bulldog Cross Country Invitational at Rose Tree Park.
Seifried, who was second in this race last year, finished 23 seconds ahead of runner-up Natalee Serwatka of Phoenixville. Hannah Seifried, Emma’s twin sister, took sixth place while Samantha Gliwa (12th) and Jenna Rastetta (15th) helped Bonner & Prendergast take second place in the team standings behind Villa Joseph Marie.
Emma Seifried admitted she misses playing field hockey — Hannah continues playing for Sacred Heart — but said that spending her summer workout time training for cross country has her feeling positive about the 2016 season.
One of those who braved the heat to watch her Saturday was Penncrest High All-Delco and former Villanova runner Kate Fonshell-Taylor, who competed in the 1996 Olympic Games after winning the 10,000-meter run at the U.S. Olympic Trials. She has joined Seifried on occasion during training runs.
Seifried was one of the few who competed at the Bulldog who didn’t mind the weather conditions.
“I really prefer running when it’s hot,” she said.
Her sister played field hockey and lacrosse during the summer, competing with the Club Ultimate lacrosse team.
“(Emma) did a lot of her training without me this summer,” Hannah Seifried said. “We’re doing well in hockey, and this is my first (invitational) race.”
Strath Haven senior Isabel Cardi won the large schools girls varsity race in 19:59, 43 seconds ahead of runner-up Taylor Barkdoll, her junior teammate. Sophomore Abby Loiselle was sixth and senior Maurissa Ogunde ninth as the Panthers beat Avon Grove for the team title.
Radnor placed sixth in the team standings, with junior Julia Havertine (eighth place) the top finisher for the Raiders.
“I don’t think it was too bad,” Cardi said. “I know the races will be a lot more competitive as we go on into the season.
“We had been going to Abington, but I like this meet more than Abington and I like running on this course.”
Westtown School junior Ryan O’Donnell, a Thornbury Township resident, took first place in the boys small schools varsity race, finishing eight seconds faster than junior Ben Hoyer of Wissahickon. Bonner & Prendergast junior Anthony Harper took third place and teammate David Whitfield crossed the finish line in fifth.
Wissahickon won the team title, with Westtown, under the direction of former Sun Valley coach Bill Stull, placing second. Tom Geveke was 10th as Sun Valley took fourth place in the team standings. Glen Mills was sixth, paced by junior Tamir Grimes, who finished 18th.
Interboro senior Billy Hallinan earned the eighth-place medal.
“This was the first summer I spent all of my time training,” O’Donnell said. “I ran on my own a lot, and I came (to Rose Tree Park to run).”
Hoyer took the lead in the early part of the race while O’Donnell waited to make his move.
“I wanted to see where I was after the first mile,” he said. “My goal for today was to really work the second mile and then not give up. If someone was coming up with me, I would stay with them. At the end, even though everything was hurting I knew I had to go as fast as I could.”
Bonner & Prendergast’s Harper splits his time during the week playing goalie for the Friars’ soccer team as well as running.
“I’ve run when it’s been hot, but never in anything like this,” he said. “When we were coming in, I just tried to give it everything I had left.”
Upper Darby senior Syed Shah took second place and Radnor senior Peter Cooke was third in the boys large schools varsity race behind winner Josh Hoey, a Bishop Shanahan junior. Avon Grove won the team championship, with Shanahan second, Methacton third, Radnor fourth and Upper Darby sixth.
Marple Newtown (Casey Bloomer 24th) was seventh in the team standings, and Chester (Lamajji Curry 28th) placed eighth.
“I haven’t run in this race since I was a freshman and was in the JV race,” Upper Darby’s Shah said. “I took it out well and really worked the second mile.
“We did a lot of running in the summer, and even got up to 11 or 12 miles a day.”
Cooke, a former soccer player who competed in the 800-meter run at the District 1 track meet last spring, is a first-year cross country runner.
“We had captain’s practices, and this was my first summer of doing so much running,” he said.