Briarwood boys, girls win sectionals

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

HOOVER – Both the Briarwood boys and girls cross-country teams took home first place finishes in the 5A Section 3 meets that took place at Veteran’s Park in Hoover on Nov. 3, both qualifying for the 5A state championship meet, which will be held on Nov. 12. The Lady Lions won their sectional meet with a perfect score of 15, meaning the top five qualifying finishers from the girls 5A Section 3 meet were all from Briarwood. The boys won their sectional meet with a score of 28, which was 14 points better than second-place Beauregard.

There were only 27 girls who took part in the 5A Section 3 meet, and only three teams, Briarwood, Valley and Central-Clay County, that brought enough runners to make up an entire team. As a result, each of those three teams will race again, as the top three teams from each sectional meet automatically qualify for the state championship race. Katie Mier, a senior from Briarwood, won the sectional meet with a time of 23:18.26, which was more than 24 seconds quicker than the second-place time.

Jorja Nassirian, an eighth-grader from Shelby County, finished in 23:45.56, which placed her third overall in the meet, but as Shelby County only sent two runners to the meet, she did not score any points.

Adrienne Goolsby, Leigh Ann Mathews, Madeline Simmerman and Laney Wagoner finished in successive order in fifth-place through eighth-place for Briarwood, rounding out the top five scorers for the Lady Lions. As the girls who finished second, third and fourth were running attached to schools that did not bring full teams, the Lady Lions took home a perfect score of 15 and claimed the sectional title.

Jonathan Jenkins and Drew Gracia, both of Beauregard, were the top two finishers in the boys meet, but Briarwood claimed five of the next seven spots to win the sectional title going away. The Lions were led by junior Zack Howard, who ran an 18:20.97 and finished third overall. Daniel Darwin and Wade Herren finished directly behind Howard at fourth and fifth overall. Jacob Wong finished seventh and George Moore finished ninth to round out the top five scorers, while Bryant Wood finished 10th overall to give Briarwood six runners finishing in the top 10.

The state championship meets will all take place in Moulton on Nov. 12 at Oakville Indian Mounds Park. The 5A girls race is scheduled as the first race of the day, set to start at 8:30, while the 5A boys race is set to start at 9:30.