Pelham girls highlight county teams at indoor track state championship
Published 11:04 am Tuesday, February 9, 2016
By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor
BIRMINGHAM – The AHSAA indoor track and field state championships took place at the Birmingham Crossplex from Feb. 5-6. Six schools from Shelby County sent their boys’ and girls’ track teams to participate in the event, and all scored points.
The meet, which was broken up into 1A-3A, 4A-5A, 6A and 7A meets was highlighted by the Pelham Lady Panthers winning the women’s 6A meet. Pelham scored 98 points, beating Homewood by 10 to win the 6A indoor state title for the second year in a row. Mary Grace Strozier was the top scorer for Pelham on the day, winning the 800-meter run, the 1,600-meter run and the 3,200-meter run to finish with 30 points on the day. Strozier won the 1,600-meter run and 3,200-meter run by an average of 11 seconds.
Erin Hines also placed second in the 60-meter hurdles, second in the long jump and third in the 400-meter dash to finish with 22 points. Hines and Strozier combined for more than half of all Pelham’s points at the meet. Alex Ladewig placed second in the pole vault and fourth in the triple jump, Emily Shaw placed second in the high jump and 4×800-meter relay team came in first as well to lead the Lady Panthers to the win.
Maddie Hoaglund of the Westminster School at Oak Mountain placed second in the 1A-3A 1,600-meter run and third in the 3,200-meter run; Allison Tanner of Helena placed second in the 4A-5A high jump with a jump of 1.52 meters; and the Spain Park 4×800-meter relay team finished fourth to highlight the rest of the girls’ action.
Freshman phenom Nicole Payne of Oak Mountain also had a noteworthy day, as she set a Crossplex record in the 400-meter dash with a time of 55.25, finishing first and beating LSU-signee Brittley Humphrey of Hoover by over a second, and finished fourth in the 800-meter run for good measure. Thompson’s Sarah Owen also set the indoor state record in the shot put with a toss of 11.58 meters.
Spain Park was the top county boys finisher at the meet with a fifth-place finish in the 7A meet. Daniel Nixon placed second in the 400-meter dash with a time of 49.54 and won the 800-meter run with a time of 1:55.51, which set an indoor state record. Christian Strong also finished fourth in the 60-meter hurdles; Jerome Kirkland placed sixth in the long jump and Damon Wright finished third in the shot put as well to lead the Jaguars.
Jacob Carrell of the Westminster School at Oak Mountain finished fifth in the 400-meter dash and second in the 800-meter run in the 1A-3A meet, Blake Vaughn of Helena finished fourth in the 800-meter run and eighth in the 1,600-meter run in the 4A-5A meet, Dorian Austin placed fifth in the 400-meter dash for Pelham in the 6A meet and Payton Youngblood finished fifth in the high jump for Oak Mountain in the 7A meet.
Emmanuel Tait of Thompon was the most outstanding individual competitor at the meet from the county on the boys side of competition. Tait finished first in the 60-meter dash, setting an indoor state record with a time of 6.91 seconds, as well as setting an indoor state record in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 7.81 seconds.