Shelby County, Helena headed to state

Published 2:05 pm Friday, November 6, 2015

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

DOTHAN – As expected, both the boys and girls cross-country teams from Helena High School made it out of the 5A Section 2 meet to clinch a bid to the 5A state championship race on Nov. 14. The girls’ team from Shelby County also made it out of the section race as well, finishing third.

The Lady Huskies came in second to Alexandria by just 12 points, and had three runners finish in the top-10. Maggie Lucas and Claire Vaughn finished fourth and fifth respectively, finishing in 22:10.09 and 22:23.27 to lead the way for Helena while Abigail Ford came in at No. 10 with a time of 22:50.11. Helena had little trouble beating Shelby County, as the Lady Huskies averaged a time of 23:08.75.

While Shelby County did not come close to challenging Alexandria or Helena on the day, the Lady Wildcats are still headed to the state meet. Marjorie Head led all county finishers in the girls’ race with a third place finish and a time of 21:54.09. Her time was over three minutes faster than the next quickest Shelby County finisher, Jorja Nassirian, who came crossed the finish line in 25:09.26. The Lady Wildcats finished with an average time of 27:17.54 and beat fourth-place finisher Calera by six points to claim a spot in the state championship meet.

The boys from Helena were the only boys team in the county to qualify out of 5A Section 2, and did so with a commanding section win, knocking off Beauregard by four points, snatching the section win with 31 points compared to Beauregard’s 35. Blake Vaughn led the way for the Huskies with a third place, 18:35.00 effort. The top two finishers at the meet, freshman Jonathan Jenkins and junior Drew Garcia, were both from Beauregard, and were in control of the section meet at the beginning. However, eighth-grader Talon Prichard, sophomore Spencer Hodges and ninth grader Justin Ritondo finished fifth, sixth, and seventh respectively to turn the meet in Helena’s favor. Philip Parker finished in the 11th spot for the Huskies, beating out Hunter Henson of Beauregard by one spot to claim the victory.

The Huskies average time of 18:59 was actually five seconds slower than the Hornets average finishing time, and was tied for the seventh-fastest average time of any 5A school across the state.