It was ‘minds over time’ for the Vandebilt Catholic girls cross country team on Tuesday afternoon at the Class 4A state meet at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches.
Facing a mud-pit of a course and extremely cold temperatures, the Lady Terriers pushed through to win their second girls cross country title in program history.
With 33 points Vandebilt, which also won the title in 2016, dominated the 4A field, topping second-place St. Michael by 40 points.
"It was a great day for us," Vandebilt coach David Malone said. "The kids really stepped up. We knew what we were getting into. There was a little fear after so many good times this year that the conditions might mess with their heads, but I told them not to worry about the times. It was all about their minds. I told them it was minds over time. They dug in and ran like champions. The conditions, the cold, did not affect them."
Leading the way for the Lady Terriers were Top 5 runners Brynn Kelso (second overall, 22:08), Leanna Teuton (fourth overall, 23:17), Caroline Lindsey (fifth overall, 23:26), Logan Hamilton (11th overall, 23:53) and Katherine Cazayoux (13th overall, 24.06).
"They were definitely the toughest conditions I have ever run in, and the cold just added to it," Kelso, an eighth-grader, said. "It was so hard to run through the mud, but winning it showed how much we wanted it as a team. It feels great knowing all the hard work has paid off at the end of the season."
Even the non-scoring runners for the Lady Terriers had solid outings.
Ella Chesnut was 14th at 24:07 and Amelia Viator was 24th (24.50).
"It shows the quality of depth and quality of athletes we have at Vandebilt," Malone said. "All 7 in Top 25 and 6 in Top 14. It was a great showing."
Also in 4A girls action, E.D. White was seventh (Mallorie Daigle placed 26th, Olivia Kliebert was 27th and Magan Amedee was 31st), Assumption was 17th (Chloe McDaniel placed 36th) and South Terrebonne was 26th and its top runner was Megan Hidalgo.
On the Class 4A boys side, E.D. White Catholic placed second as team with 76 points, finishing only behind state champion Belle Chasse (40) points.
"I thought the guys did a great job of battling the conditions," E.D. White coach Tommy Schexnayder said. "They stayed focused."
Braedon Methvin (third overall, 19.12) led the way for the Cardinals and rounding out the Top 5 for E.D. White were Samuel Avants (13th, 20.15), Cade Granier (14th, 20.20), Carson Babin (25th, 20.50) and Reece Shelby (28th, 21:03).
"Braedon is a great kid," Schexnayder said. "He works hard and got after it. He gave us the momentum we needed to finish as 4A state runner-up."
Methvin said the Cardinals pushed through the race together and he used their strength to take the third-place finish.
"We all stuck with it and we stayed close and came through in the end," Methvin said. "I would not have been able to do it without them. It was tough to be positive (on Monday after seeing the course) but after taking the whole night we were mentally able to prepare ourselves and it paid off."
Brooks Barrios (36th, 21:18) and Owen Tauzin (66th, 22:28) also competed for the Cardinals.
The Vandebilt Catholic boys placed seventh as a team and were led by Dylan Smith, who placed 12.
The Assumption boys were 17th and got a 30th-place finish from Matthew LeBlanc and a 32nd-place finish from Laquan Adams.
South Terrebonne was 15th overall and Brad Hidalgo (64th) and Houston Boquet (69th) were top Gators runners.
South Lafourche had three runners participating unattached, led by Max Kliebert, who was 37th overall.
Thibodaux’s Luke Sweatman had a stellar outing at the meet, placing seventh overall with a time of 18:34 while facing a highly competitive field.
The Terrebonne boys placed 22nd as a team and were led by Alex Pontiff’s 68th-place finish and Central Lafourche’s Gabriel Hodson was 47th overall while competing as an individual.
The Central Lafourche girls placed 22nd as a team and was led by Claire Hodson’s 77th place finish.
Running unattached, Terrrebonne’s Cheyenne Autin was 73rd and H.L. Bourgeois runner Caylie Fanguy was 125th.