PHILADELPHIA — The numbers are interesting, no matter how someone looks at them.
Cardinal O'Hara's girls swept the first three places and had six of the top seven finishers in repeating as District 12's Class AAA cross country champions at Belmont Plateau Thursday afternoon.
Two of the top six O'Hara runners were seniors — Amy Kelly, who placed second, and Erin Dolan, who was seventh. Sophomore Grace Mancini was individual champion for the second consecutive year with a time of 19 minutes, 34 seconds. Kelly came in at 20:10.
Freshman Sara Hayes gave the Lions third place, and ninth-graders Maura Lyons and Olivia Arizin were fifth and sixth. Sophomore Aine Sheehan was O'Hara's other finisher, coming across the line in 11th place.
"It was a little windier than it was Saturday (Catholic League Championships), and that made it tougher,' Mancini said. "But I think all of us did (our) job today.
"I felt good that first mile, then I ran through the woods with Amy. When we came out of there and started going up the hill, she just told me to go ahead.'
Mancini's winning margin was about 10 seconds more than what she accomplished as a freshman. By taking the team title, O'Hara qualified all seven of its runners for the PIAA Championships in Hershey Saturday, Nov. 2.
"Making states as a team was what really mattered,' said Kelly, who also hopes to help the O'Hara field hockey team earn a district title and qualify for the PIAA Championships this fall. "Each of us did our part, so now we can focus on what we have to do next week.'
Hays, another hockey player and runner, was 12 seconds behind Kelly in claiming third place.
"We were supposed to run as a pack and get the win,' she said. "This was fun.'
O'Hara's team total of 17 points easily outdistanced runnerup Central High of the Philadelphia Public League, which had the eighth, ninth and 10th finishers and scored 59 points.
In the Class AA race, Archbishop Carroll (76) finished behind Archbishop Wood (20) and Lansdale Catholic (58) in the team standings. Bonner-Prendergast (83) was fourth.
Carroll junior Gabriella Miele was the top local finisher (eighth). She will be joined in the state final race by teammates Tess Gibbons, a freshman who placed 16th, junior Abigale Cocco (18th), and seniors Katie Sullivan (21st) and Kelly McMonagle (22nd).
"I paced myself through the first mile, then tried to open it up in the woods,' Miele said. "The last mile, I just pushed as hard as I could. I did a lot of long runs in the summer and have worked as hard as I could since the season started.'
Bonner-Prendergast's state qualifiers were seniors Julianne Groshon (12th) and Sonia Dever (14th) and sophomore Cate Lance (19th).
"I was injured and couldn't run in this race last year,' Groshon said. "I've had shin pains, but today I knew this could be my last race so I went after it.
"I don't mind running in this kind of weather. I actually think I run better when it's not as warm.'
Dever finished 13 seconds behind Groshon.
"I try to push myself the first mile because I don't want that many people getting ahead of me,' Dever said. "I get nervous when we go in the woods, because that's usually where people start going past you."Today I don't think I let anyone get past me there.'
Junior Maureen McCann (24th) and senior Alyssa Steele (26th) rounded out Bonner-Prendergast's top five finishers.