BETHLEHEM >> One member of the team plays field hockey, in addition to running in the fall. Another is an outstanding soccer player, another excels in crew. Sacred Heart Academy cross country coach Kara Rufo put those talented athletes together with a pair of excellent runners Friday and got pleasant results.
With sophomore Kayleigh Doyle, who finished second, and senior Emma Seifried, who was third, leading the way, the Lions captured the District 1 Class A girls cross country team championship for the second consecutive year in the meet held on Lehigh University’s Goodman Campus course.
Heart compiled 38 points to hold off Calvary Christian (46) and Jenkintown (69) in the team race. Only the district champion earned the right to compete as a team at the PIAA Championships in Hershey next Saturday.
Sophomore Chiara O’Keefe, who finished fifth, senior Hannah Seifried, who was sixth, and junior Claire Friedlander (23rd) rounded out the top five for Sacred Heart, which also will take Kelly Shaughnessy and Joan Costello to Hershey for the state meet.
“They’re a fun group, but they work hard,” Rufo, a former Sacred Heart runner, said. “Emma hasn’t been herself this season, but she’s coming back. Kayleigh ran a real good race, and Chiara’s really come on this year. She’s a very good soccer player, but we don’t have a soccer team. So she chose to run.
“Hannah’s been busy with field hockey, but she’s great at helping the team. And Claire’s best sport is crew, but she’s getting used to running. I’m happy for all of them.”
Doyle has been to the district meet twice, and finished second both times. Calvary Christian’s Abby Brown (19:52) won it this time around.
“I was really focused for the first mile, then I was hurting the second mile,” Doyle said. “The third mile I just used what I had left. Abby ran a very good race.”
Doyle wasn’t sure if her Lions could repeat as district champions.
“It was great winning it and getting to go to states last year,” she said. “We were just hoping that we could get back again.”
Emma Seifried struggled through some races earlier in the season.
“The last two weeks I’ve been competing better,” she said. “The doctors said that I was over-using my muscles. I was running in the high 21s (minutes). I was glad to be in the 20s (20:26) today.
“I think the best thing is just being more relaxed and going out there to run.”
Hanna Seifried helped Heart come close to qualifying for the district playoffs in field hockey.
“The good thing was that it wasn’t too cold out here today,” she said. “I’m glad I could get out there and help our team.”
O’Keefe, who plays for the Penn Fusion club soccer team, also was delighted that the weather was so nice.
“Last year was cold and windy,” she said. “Today I told myself to stick with Hannah out there. We’d have a field hockey and a soccer player running together.
“If she went by me, I knew I had to keep sprinting.”
Taylor Barkdoll of Strath Haven, who finished 37th, was the only local runner to qualify for the state meet in the Class AAA race. Junior Abby Lioselle was 75th as Haven ended up 15th in the team standings.
Among the other Delco finishers were Penncrest’s Liz Egan (52nd), who was nine seconds off a state qualifying time, Jamie Green of Ridley (53rd), and Penn Wood’s Elicia Moore (64th).
“We took it out kind of slow, and that might have backfired on us,” Barkdoll said. “I think that might have been my slowest mile time. I tried to work the second mile hard, but then I was tired in the third mile.
“When you get toward the finish and you’re worried about your place and making states, you sprint. I’m happy I made states, but it’s bittersweet because the two times I went to states I had my team with me. We’re very close, and I wanted them to be able to go, too.”
Strath Haven coach Bill Coren admitted that it was a “hard meet.
“We’re disappointed that we only finished 15th,” he said. “Taylor went to states in ninth grade, when she was at (Monsignor Bonner/Archbishop Prendergast). She beat runners today who beat her at Delcos.”
West Chester Henderson, coached by former Monsignor Bonner runner Bill Lott, placed fifth in the team standings and qualified to compete as a team at the state meet.