St. Bede's girls cross country team knows how to make an exit.
The Lady Bruins made a grand exit Wednesday from the Tri-County Conference.
This is St. Bede's final year in the Tri-County, and the Lady Bruins won both the girls individual and girls team conference titles at Wednesday's Tri-County Conference Cross Country Meet, which was held at St. Bede.
St. Bede senior Lucy Stanke won the individual title, and St. Bede scored 37 points to win the girls team title.
"I'm very excited. My goal for the whole season was to win (this race). I'm very excited," Stanke said.
Her winning time was 21 minutes, 6.6 seconds. Immediately after Stanke finished her race, she went and cheered for her teammates.
She wanted the team title just as much as she wanted the individual hardware.
"I'm just really happy how our team did," Stanke said. "I'm so proud of how we did."
Ottawa Marquette won the boys team title with 28 points, and Henry-Midland senior Kenny Swartz earned the boys individual title. Swartz ran a time of 16:42.5.
"I really wanted to win this since freshman year, and it feels great to finally do it," Swartz said. "This has been the highlight so far (this season). Besides the regional and sectional series, this is the meet I was really looking for throughout the whole year."
Swartz used a strong last mile to pull away from Marquette's Evan Darm. Swartz and Darm ran the first 2 miles shoulder-to-shoulder, but Swartz increased his pace the last mile to beat Darm by 12.7 seconds.
"He's beaten me at two invites already this year so I knew how he raced," Swartz said of Darm. "I just wanted to stay with him for 2 miles, and at the 2(-mile mark), I thought I had more than he did. â€¦ This is a race I wanted for four years, and I wasn't going to let myself lose it."
Swartz helped Henry-Midland finish runner-up to Marquette in the boys team standings. The Timberducks had 72 team points.
Stanke created separation much sooner in her race than Swartz.
Just 1 mile into the 3-mile girls race, Stanke started pulling away from Henry-Midland's Rachel Kingery. There was never a huge gap between Stanke and Kingery, and Stanke won by a comfortable 7.7 seconds.
"It's definitely a confidence booster," Stanke said of the win.
The top 10 boys and girls runners Wednesday earn Tri-County Conference all-conference honors.
This year's all-conference girls along with Stanke and Kingery are Kayla MacDavitt (St. Bede, 21:54.1), Claire Voss (Henry-Midland, 22:02.9), Katherine Bungelholl (Marquette, 22:10.2), Catherine Rinerson (Marquette, 22:29.9), Julia Jackson (St. Bede, 22:43.8), Christina Schulz (Marquette, 23:09.9), Brianna Downey (Putnam County, 23:12.7), and Hannah Read (St. Bede, 23:15.5).
Boys all-conference recipients this year after Swartz and Darm are Justin Mikesell (Peoria Christian, 17:18.3), Brandon Forrest (Marquette, 17:34.7), Andrew Gama (Marquette, 17:38.1), Wes Oltman (Henry-Midland, 17:44.5), Adam Flores (Putnam County, 17:51.4), David Finn (Marquette, 18:01.2), Lucas Hill (Marquette, 18:05.5), Quinn Crowley (Marquette, 18:10.1).
Erik Hall can be reached at 223-3200, ext. 195, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.