County runners set blazing pace at Jesse Owens Invitational
Published 1:15 pm Monday, October 5, 2015
By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor
OAKVILLE – On a day when over 1,500 runners from numerous states descended on Indian Mounds Park, Oak Mountain’s Cole Stidfole was once again the star of the show. Stidfole finished the boys’ gold division with a time of 15:20.45, good for second place overall, demolishing his personal best 5K time by nearly 20 seconds in the process. Stidfole’s average mile time of 4:56.11 by itself would have challenged for a top-15 placement in the 4A outdoor track state championship in 2015, except he then repeated that time twice more. Stidfole now has two of the top eight times in the state from 2015, and currently has the fastest time in the state by over 10 seconds.
Opposite Stidfole on the girls’ side of the meet, Pelham’s Mary Grace Strozier continued her impressive senior campaign with a time of 18:26.39, which was good enough for 14th-place overall but was the third-fastest time in the state at the meet. Strozier’s time is also now the third fastest time in the state behind freshmen Amaris Tyynismaa of Montgomery Catholic and Abbey Weitnebeck of Huntsville High School.
Stidfole’s Eagles finished fourth in the gold division out of 45 teams with an average time of 16:28.77 and 261 points to their credit. Caleb Van Geffen finished with a time of 16:08.39, good for 29th out of the more than 300 gold division runners. Sean Drummond was not far behind, finishing with a time of 16:19.12.
The Westminster School at Oak Mountain Lady Knights were once again the county’s top finishers, with a third-place finish in the bronze division out of 25 teams with 99 points, just eight away from second place. Maddie Hoaglund finished third overall in the division with a 19:36.48 time and Sarah Kate Lipperd finished with a time of 20:10.55, good enough for 13th overall as well.
Strozier was the only Pelham runner to compete in the gold division, while Spain Park came in sixth place overall in the top girls division out of 33 teams with an average finishing time of 19:30.65 and 232 points, just four points behind top-5 finisher Riverdale High School. Sarah Sims McGrath, who finished with a time of 18:50.46, led the Lady Jaguars.
The boys from Westminster School at Oak Mountain finished fifth in the green division out of 33 teams behind a 17:40.75 performance from sophomore Pierce Moffett. Indian Springs finished 22nd overall in the same division and was led by Greyson Flint with a time of 18:39.70.
The Jesse Owens Invitational is a notoriously fast course, and all these runners will see this layout again as the same course is also site the AHSAA state cross-country championships.