7A schools fare well at state meet

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

GULF SHORES – Spain Park, Oak Mountain and Thompson all competed in the state track and field championship meet in Gulf Shores from April 30-May 2 and all fared well. In the boys meet, Oak Mountain led all 7A county teams with 37.3 points, which was good enough for sixth place, while Spain Park finished with 33.5, good enough for seventh, and Thompson finished with 22, good enough for 12th.

Cole Stidfole was the leading individual scorer for Oak Mountain. Stidfole won the 3,200-meter run and placed second in the 1,600-meter run to give the Eagles 19 points by himself in the meet. Sam Brown placed second in the high jump and was the only other top-three finisher for the Eagles. Payton Younblood placed fourth for Oak Mountain in the javelin throw, Andrew Day placed sixth in the shot put and Deshawn Giles tied for eighth in the high jump to round out the individual scorers for Oak Mountain. The 4×400-meter relay team finished sixth as well.

Spain Park had a number of top finishers as well. Daniel Nixon was seeded third in the 800-meter run coming into the meet, but ran the fastest time of any class at the meet and won the race with a time of 1:54.49, nearly two seconds faster than the second-place finisher. Jerome Kirkland finished third in the long jump and Brayden Pierce placed second in the triple jump for the Jaguars to round out their top-three finishers. Jeff Bannon tied for eighth in the pole vault, Christian Strong finished fifth in the 110-meter hurdles and Stonewall Ingram finished seventh in the javelin to round out the individual scorers for Spain Park. The Jaguars 4×800-meter relay team also came in sixth.

The top county scorer did not come from either of these teams however. Emmanuel Tait of Thompson came into the state meet seeded first in both the 110-meter and the 300-meter hurdles. Tait did not disappoint, winning both the prelims and the finals of the 110-meter hurdles, with a final time of 14.12 seconds, best of anyone at the Gulf Shores meet regardless of class. Tait also won the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 38.83 seconds to give him 20 of Thompson’s 22 points. The 4×400-meter relay team for the Warriors also finished seventh.