PHILADELPHIA >> For runners like La Salle’s Evan Addison and Lansdale Catholic’s Kayla Connelly, the Belmont Plateau is like their own backyard — one big, hilly backyard.
“This is a classic course — always cool to come out to Belmont,” said Addison, who led a determined throng of Explorer runners to the finish on Wednesday, crossing first in 16 minutes, 51 seconds.
“It’s such a historic course and I’ve been running here since grade school. It was good to get all the guys out here, our last regular-season PCL Meet so it was fun just running all of our guys as hard as we could.”
La Salle blazed to a first-place finish in the North Division of the Philadelphia Catholic League Meet at Belmont, joining St. Hubert (North girls), Cardinal O’Hara (South girls) and St. Joe’s Prep (South boys) as team winners for the day, with Connelly running the fastest time of the afternoon in the girls race, finishing in 20:47.
“I love Belmont — I think I’m stronger on the hills so this kind of course suits me better,” said Connelly, who outraced Little Flower’s Olivia Pisacano (20:49) — Pisacano was the top finisher amongst South competitors.
“I’m feeling good. I’m ahead of where I was last year so I’m feeling confident.”
Connelly attacked the plateau’s four hills with expertise, maintaining a strong pace throughout. Cracking the top five in the North were Archbishop Ryan’s Megan Kirn (23:44), followed closely by three consecutive Archbishop Wood runners, paced by Alyssa Friedman (24:02).
The La Salle pack was hard to break up in the boys race — they took the top five spots in the North and had just a 35-second gap from one to five.
“Overall it felt really smooth. Now we’re going into the championship races and we’ll see what we can do,” Addison said of the Explorers, the defending PCL and District 12 Champs as well as a fourth-place finisher in the state last year in Class AAA.
“We’re really rounding into shape and I think now we just have to kind of rest up and kinda get down to it. I’m definitely looking forward to (the postseason) — states, districts, PCL’s…You get to race against the best guys in the state so it’s always fun.”
La Salle’s pack was also powered by Brendan Price (16:59), Stephen Paul (17:00), Greg Galbreath (17:16) and Quinn O’Neill (17:26).
Over in the South, Sean Brown of Roman Catholic took top honors, crossing in 17:18, with St. Joe’s taking five of the next seven spots, led by Joey Console (18:01). Tony Harper of Bonner and Prendergast and Aidan Doherty of Archbishop Carroll ran solid races, placing fifth and 10th in the South.