UPPER PROVIDENCE — For the second weekend in a row, Methacton's Kara Steinke ran away from the rest of the pack in a big invitational meet.
At last week's Abington Invitational, Steinke crossed first — well ahead of Downingtown West's Aislinn Devlin.
Saturday morning in the large school race at the Bulldog Invitational, Steinke took first place in the annual meet at Rose Tree Park — with no one challenging her.
Steinke, a speedy state meet veteran, clocked a winning time of 18:18 while Central Bucks East's Elizabeth Huuki was a distant runner-up at 18:42. Wissahickon's Lotte Black placed third with a time of 18:48.
"The weather was fantastic today,' Steinke said. "It was perfect. This course is medium to medium-hard. The back hills are difficult but they're quite short. There are a lot of rolling hills and uneven ups-and-downs that catch up with you later in the race.
"This park is a beautiful park. My plan coming in was just to run and have fun. We did a really difficult hill workout Thursday to get ready for next week's race in Hershey so all our legs are beat up.
"The C.B. East girl (Huuli) was ahead of me the whole race until the two-mile when the hills started to pick up. I passed her with a little less than a mile to go. I opened it up after that. I decided to go and my legs felt OK. I'm really pleased with how I ran today.'
Central Bucks East placed first in the team standings Saturday with 38 points followed by North Penn (80), Cardinal O'Hara (83), Central Bucks West (117), Downingtown East (125), West Chester Henderson (165), Methacton (223), Avon Grove (230), Downingtown West (243) and Upper Darby (246).
North Penn placed three runners in the top 10. Phoebe Clowser finished seventh at 19:02 while Ali Valenti was eighth at 19:11 and Brianna Mengini placed ninth at 19:16.
"I just kept a steady pace the whole time because I knew there were a lot of rolling hills,' Clowser said. "I was 12th or 13th at the mile. The hill on the second mile is where I picked up places. My legs are usually tired after the second mile but they felt good today.'
In the small school race, Strath Haven took the team trophy with 26 followed by Upper Merion (101), Gwynedd-Mercy Academy (139), Episcopal Academy (151) and Merion Mercy Academy (183).
Upper Merion was led by Coleen Butler, who was sixth at 16:15, and Zeinab Bakillah, who placed 13th with a clocking of 20:41.
"The course was fast and I was leading after the first mile,' Butler said. "The Strath Haven girls (Abby Kennedy, Allie Wilson and Claire Wolters) took it out. They had negative splits and I couldn't keep up.
"I was fourth at the two-mile. In the middle of the last mile, one girl passed me (Notre Dame's Sydney Stribrny) and then the other girl (Springfield-Delco's Grace Galligan) outkicked me at the end.'
Bakillah said, "I went out harder than I usually do and I had a p.r. (personal record) today. Our coach just told me to catch up to a group, settle and then do it again.'
Gwynedd Mercy Academy's top finisher was Stephanie Szekely, who placed eighth with a time of 20:28.
In the boys small school race, Malvern Prep placed all five of its scorers in the top 17 and captured the championship trophy with 53 points. Radnor was second with 79 points followed by Upper Merion at 91, Masterman with 98 and Penn Charter at 121. Upper Merion was paced by Austin Cooper, who finished fourth with a time of 16:10.
In the boys large school race, the meet title went to Cardinal O'Hara, a team that is ranked both in the state and at regional and national levels. The Lions from the Philadelphia Catholic League finished first with 27 points and West Chester East was second with 109. Downingtown West placed third with 126 followed by Pennridge (149), Downingtown East (154).
Three area runners finished in the top 15 in the race — Wissahickon's Tristan Marcelis (13th, 16:21) and Lukas Marcelis (15th, 16:25) and Plymouth Whitemarsh's Dan Shalala (14th, 16:22).
Bulldog Invitational at Rose Tree Park
Team scoring: Strath Haven 26, Upper Merion 101, Gwynedd-Mercy Academy 139, Episcopal Academy 151, Merion Mercy Academy 183
Kennedy (Strath Haven) 19:24, Wilson (Strath Haven) 19:37, Wolters (Strath Haven) 19:43, Stribrny (Notre Dame) 20:05, Galligan (Speringfield) 20:10, Butler (Upper Merion) 20:15, Malmberg (Episcopal Academy) 20:24, Szekely (Gwynedd-Mercy Academy) 20:28, Snyder (Strath Haven) 20:33, Ashworth (Masterman) 20:37.
Team Scoring: Central Bucks East 38, North Penn 80, Cardinal O'Hara 83, Central Bucks West 117, Downingtown East 125
Steinke (Methacton) 18:18, Huuki (Central Bucks East) 18:42, Black (Wissahickon) 18:48, Dawson (Central Bucks East) 18:50, Morris (Central Bucks East) 18:52, Kelly (Cardinal O'Hara) 18:57, Clowser (North Penn) 19:02, Valenti(North Penn) 19:11, Mendini (North Penn) 19:16, Villalba (Central Bucks West) 19:18.
Team scoring: Malvern Prep 53, Radnor 79, Upper Merion 91, Masterman 98, Penn Charter 121
Mason (Penn Charter) 15:55, Holm (Radnor) 15:59, Hanson (Radnor) 16:06, Cooper (Upper Merion) 16:10, Hoey (Malvern Prep) 16:14, McDevitt (Malvern Prep) 16:16, Butera (Strath Haven) 16:23, Degroot-Lutzner (masterman) 16:23, Williams (Penn Charter) 16:28, Stec (Malvern Prep) 16:31.
Team Scoring: Cardinal O'Hara 27, West Chester East 109, Downingtown West 126, Pennridge 149, Downingtown East 154
James (Cardinal O'Hara) 15:12, Cummings (West Chester East) 15:30, Brophy (Central Bucks East) 15:38, Belfatto (Cardinal O'Hara) 15:46, Smith (Avon Grove) 15:53, Morro (Cardinal O'Hara) 16:01, Pastore (Cardinal O'Hara) 16:05, Caldwell (Downingtown East) 16:08, Smart (Cardinal O'Hara) 16:11, Diestelow (West Cherster East) 16:15.