John Paul II Catholic School's girls cross country team edged Covenant Christian on Saturday at Heathwood Hall in Columbia to win the SCISAA Class 1-A state championship.
The title is the first team championship for John Paul II. Earlier this fall, Meaghan Lyons won a second straight state individual title in swimming in the 100-yard breaststroke.
"This is huge for our school, this is huge as we continue to establish our varsity sports programs and this is also huge for the cross country program and helping to establish it as a competitive program," John Paul II athletic director Matt Dakolios said. "We had three 8th-graders, a 9th-grader and a 10th-grader out there. Still no seniors, so to win a title is great. I'm extremely proud of our kids and our coaches."
John Paul II edged second-place Covenant Christian, 56-59. Beaufort Academy (110) was fifth.
Colleton Graves was the top Golden Warrior, finishing third with a time of 22:36.18. Teammate Katie Leigh Floyd was ninth at 24:28.24.
John Paul II was coached by Michael Brock. The Golden Warriors' head coach Leanne Koffskey is on maternity leave.
"We've never been to state obviously, we're a young school," Brock said. "This was all new to them, and we didn't know what to expect. We didn't think we were going to do that great."
Brock said the team didn't know it had won until the finishing order was called out while they were sitting in the stands.
"I told the girls, 'this had been a fun season, we've learned a lot. Let's go out and do your best, and we'll learn from ths season,' " Brock said. "They all went out there gave it their all and all went out there and (got personal records)."
Maris Staley was the top runner for Beaufort Academy, finishing in 24:55.97.
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John Paul II girls: 3. Colleton Graves 22:36.18; 9. Katie Leigh Floyd 24:28.24; 11. Emma Burton 24:46.34; 15. Gianna Torinese 26:13.97; 32. Merritt Woodham 28:13.20.
Beaufort Academy girls: 12. Maris Staley 24:55.97; 14. Quinn Fleming 26:07.89; 17. Ellie Muniz 26:28.88; 45. Margaret Aimar 35:33.76; 46. Gina Dukes 35:37.05.
The John Paul II boys finished second in the SCISAA Class 1-A cross country championship, trailing Waidlaw Academy 91-72. Beaufort Academy was fourth at 104.
The top John Paul II runner was Jalen Mutrie, who finished fifth at 19:04.51. Teammate Sebastian Laverde was ninth at 19:31.61.
For Beaufort Academy, Nathaniel Keenan the runner-up with a time of 18:38.02. Teammate Mitchell Russell was seventh at 19:06.67.
John Paul II boys: 5. Jalen Mutrie 19:04.51; 9. Sebastian Laverde 19:31.61; 15. Josh Brenner 20:43.79; 39. Noah Brock 21:59.24; 43. Evan Calabrese 22:32.70; 52. Tyler Klein 23:25/51; 61. Hunter Burton 24:18.23.
Beaufort Academy boys: 2. Nathaniel Keenan 18:38.02; 7. Mitchell Russell 19:09.67; 16. Davis Rachella 20:45.58; 48. Joe Stowe 22:53.55; 50. Jack Staley 23:10.02.