Indoor track: Hope takes first in 55-meter dash

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 11, 2006

PRICEVILLE &8212; Oak Mountain&8217;s James Hope hasn&8217;t had much luck in the past two track and field seasons.

In both his freshmen and sophomore years, Hope suffered early-season hamstring injuries that kept him sidelined from competition. But as the 2006 indoor season got under way Saturday at the Pelham Invitational, Hope shook off any fear of another injury and took home first place in the men&8217;s 55-meter dash.

On his way to victory, Hope outran Homewood&8217;s Tim Hawthorne, finishing in 6.53 seconds. Hawthorne finished second with a time of 6.72 seconds.

Hope&8217;s win was one of four first place finishes for Shelby County schools competing at the meet, which was held at the Celebration Arena in Priceville.

Spain Park&8217;s Chris Spear took home first place in the men&8217;s pole vault, soaring to a height of 13 feet, six inches. Ryan Bell, also of Spain Park, finished first in the men&8217;s shotput with a throw of 50 feet, eight and a half inches, blowing out the second place finisher by more than five feet.

Oak Mountain&8217;s 4×400 relay came across the line first in their race in a time of 3:38.52.

Twenty four other county athletes broke the top 10.

On the men&8217;s side, Oak Mountain finished second in the 4×800 relay with a time of 8:25.84 while Spain Park&8217;s squad took home seventh in a time of 8:55.67.

Three Eagle pole vaulters finished in the top 10 behind Spear. Brad Passen finished second after clearing 13 feet while Zac Epperson and Dan Brislin

tied for eighth place with both athletes clearing 12 feet.

Spain Park&8217;s Austin Priddy finished 10th in the 400-meter dash in a time of 54.78 seconds.

Three county runners took top-10 finishes in the men&8217;s 800-meter dash including Smith Wilbanks and Ross Laporte of Oak Mountain and Andrew Newcomb of Pelham. Smith took home fourth in a time of 2:05.47; Laporte took seventh with a time of 2:06.62; and Newcomb crossed the line for ninth place in 2:08.75.

Spain Park&8217;s Sean Brown and Oak Mountain&8217;s Joe Gibson finished fifth and 10th respectively in the 1600-meter run. Brown crossed the line in 4:42.27 while Gibson finished in a time of 4:48.50.

Oak Mountain&8217;s 4×200 team finished in fourth place at 1:37.37 while Spain Park&8217;s squad took fifth in a time of 1:38.41. Spain Park&8217;s 4×400 team finished sixth with a time of 3:45.80.

Eleven county women finished in the top-10 in their respective races.

Oak Mountain&8217;s Raley Burnett was the top finisher for Shelby County women, finishing second in the 800-meter run in a time of 2:31.27. Spain Park&8217;s Kelly Harrington followed close behind Burnett, crossing the line in eighth place with a time of 2:37.38.

Mary Grace DeCastra finished well in two events for the Eagles, taking home seventh in the pole vault with a vault of eight feet, six inches and 10th in the long jump with a leap of 14 feet, 11 inches.

Oak Mountain&8217;s Lindy Gfeller finished eighth in the 400-meter dash in a time of 1:03.66 while teammate Sarah Bond took home fourth in the 55-meter hurdles in a time of 9.40 seconds.

Two county women finished well in the high jump, with the Eagles&8217; Hannah Farmer taking third with a leap of four feet, 10 inches and Pelham&8217;s Sarah Sharman taking eighth with a jump of four feet, six inches.

Spain Park&8217;s Katie Quinn edged DeCastra in the pole vault, clearing nine feet for a sixth place finish. Quinn&8217;s teammate Shay Jackson took fourth in the shot put with a throw of 27 feet, one inch.

The Oak Mountain 4×400 relay team finished seventh with a time of 4:39.33.

In team scoring, the Oak Mountain men finished third with 44 points while Spain Park took seventh with 23 points. The Eagles finished ninth on the women&8217;s side with 17 points while the Lady Jags took home 20th with five points.

The Hoover Buccaneers took home first place on both the men and women&8217;s sides.

The teams will be back in action at the Northridge Invitational this Saturday in Priceville.

Five county teams ranked in indoor

By BRANDON GRESHAM / Sports Editor

The pre-season indoor track and field prep rankings were released this week by Alabama High School and website, before to the Pelham Invitational.

Five county teams made the list including the Spain Park boys, Pelham boys and Oak Mountain girls in Class 6A; and the Briarwood boys and girls squads in Class 5A.

The Spain Park boys team is ranked No. 6 while the Pelham boys team is No. 8 on the 6A list.

The Oak Mountain Lady Eagles are ranked No. 6 in girls 6A.

The Briarwood Lions boys team is ranked No. 10 in the state in Class 5A while the girls team is No. 8