Oak Mountain sweeps county meet

For the second-straight year, Oak Mountain High School swept the Shelby County Cross Country Championships Tuesday, proving that running is something the Eagles know how to do.

“We’re having a really good season. Everything’s clicking as a team, so we tried to pack run today to continue that motivation and team commodore,” second-year head coach Jim Moore said.

The pack strategy paid off, as the Eagles placed six boys and three girls in the Top 10.

Leading the way for the third-ranked boys’ team was senior Shane Brogdon, who beat all runners with a time of 16:55.38 to win the boys’ championship.

“I’ve had better times, but I’m pretty happy,” Brogdon said. “Me and a couple of guys from my team decided to take a different approach and take it out relatively slow. I went through the first mile about 5:40 and just tried to gradually increase every mile instead of going out fast and dying.”

Moore said he was glad to see that Brogdon’s time was similar to other times this season with the slower first mile and hopes it could be a wakeup call. Brogdon said he likes the new pace.

“We usually do the go hard and die, which isn’t what we train to do, it’s just what happens. This was more of a mental challenge to actually hold back when they’ve got so much left,” Moore said.

The new strategy comes just a few days before Saturday’s Great American Race at Hoover’s Veterans Park and a couple of weeks before the state sectional at Veterans.

“It’s nerve racking because we’re doing really well, and it’s going to be a war between us, Hoover and Mountain Brook,” Moore said. “We’re trying to work on some things and part of today is to try to execute for sectionals and state.”

The Oak Mountain girls’ were led to victory by eighth-grader Toni Payne, who was appearing in her first varsity race. Payne paced the Eagles by finishing fourth overall with a time of 21:32.48.

“I was kind of worried (the girls) may have the attitude of where here’s a middle schooler running in my senior or junior spot, but they were very supportive, which is comforting,” Moore said. “She’s going to be an asset the next few years.”

Taking the individual title for the girls was Pelham’s Dena O’Brien with a time of 19:47.80.

“County’s always a big race for me,” O’Brien said. “I just really wanted it. I really wanted to win. I told myself I had to give it all I’ve got. It only hurts for a little bit.”

The win was her second county title after winning the meet in middle school. It was also her first time to break 20 minutes in a county championship.

The top 10 runners for the boys and girls were named the All-County team.

Boys’ All-County

1. Shane Brogdon, Oak Mountain, 16:55.38

2. Andrew Darwin, Briarwood, 17:08.47

3. Cory Jones, Oak Mountain, 17:14.58

4. Boyd Christenbury, Oak Mountain, 17:35.17

5. Kurt Wagner, Briarwood, 17:44.77

6. Nick Brice, Pelham, 17:49.01

7. Kasey Hayes, Oak Mountain, 17:54.79

8. Joseph Darwin, Briarwood, 18:00.20

9. Samuel Mueller, Oak Mountain, 18:11.88

10. Ty Brogdon, Oak Mountain, 18:14.60

Girls’ All-County

1.Dena O’Brien, Pelham, 19:47.80

2. Mallory Mathias, Briarwood, 20:03.30

3. Jacqueline Head, Shelby County, 20:11.66

4. Toni Payne, Oak Mountain, 21:32.48

5. Lauren Mason, Briarwood, 21:43.67

6. Kendra Lowe, Thompson, 21:48.58

7. Mary Catherine Ellard, Briarwood, 21:54.04

8. Erin Fondren, Oak Mountain, 22:23.15

9. Christi Gaskill, Oak Mountain, 22:24.84

10. Briana Gunn, Pelham, 22:31.25

Boys’ Team Results

1. Oak Mountain, 1:27:51.80

2. Briarwood, 1:29:51.15

3. Westminster, 1:36:06.18

4. Pelham, 1:37:43.23

5. Shelby County, 1:39:59.59

6. Indian Springs, 1:45:05.61

7. Chelsea, 1:45:17.87

8. Thompson, 1:45:43.76

Girls’ Team Results

1. Oak Mountain, 1:51:41.10

2. Briarwood, 1:49:34.17

3. Pelham, 1:51:50.85

4. Thompson, 1:54:11.76

5. Westminster, 2:00:46.00

6. Indian Springs, 2:09:56.10

7. Vincent, 2:22.00.87