CULLMAN — After taking a bye-week Labor Day weekend, the St. Bernard Saints kicked off their cross country season on Saturday at the Chickasaw Trail Invitational in Oakville, Ala.
The varsity boys took fifth place overall out of 39 teams and the varsity girls came in 12th place out of 31 teams. Both varsity teams ran a 5K among schools from Class 1A-4A.
The top two Saints runners on the boys’ team were a pair of seniors: Will Faulk, who was seventh overall with a 17:50 time, and Seamus Russell, was 27th place overall at 18:45.
The next Saint to cross the finish line was Steven Mami at 39th place with a 19:07 time. Oscar Perez followed at 74th place at 19:53. Sammy Robles finished at 120th place with 20:46, then came Thomas Russell in 186th place at 22:09. Min Bo Shim took 219th place after 22:46.
“For our first meet, I thought the boys’ team packed in pretty well,” said coach William Calvert. “We’ve been working on keeping the 2-5 runners close together, and they did pretty well, especially the second and third runners stayed together really well. The fourth and fifth runners, we’ve got to get them closer to the second and third, and we’ll be in good shape.”
On the girls’ side, Logan Ayers made a big finish by coming in second place overall out of 257 runners with 20:17 on the clock. The next runner from St. Bernard was Aylena Mani in 12th place with 12:06, followed by Morgan Matz in 122nd place after 25:16. Allison Hubert was 137th place and a time of 25:42. Shidangi Patel came in 162nd place with 26:28. Lesley O’Donnell was 200th place and a time of 28:28.
“Our girls are very young,” Calvert said. “Our top two runners had an outstanding day in the girls. Our young girls ran well today, but we’ve got to learn to pack together as a team for our future meets.”
In the JV competition, where the course was 2.1 miles and included more than 400 runners, the boys team came in 24th place. Greg Sanders finished first for the boys at 226th place with a time of 15:25. Following him was Jalen Lee at 234th place after 15:29.
The JV girls’ top two finishers were Leahrose Mani, who came in at 81st place with a 16:02 run, and Anna Faulk, who finished 212th after 18:55.
Next up, the team travels to Scottsboro for the Scottsboro Invitational next Saturday.
% The Times’ sports writer Laura Owens contributed to this report.