Spain Park finishes 13th in Memphis XC event

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Spain Park has shaken things up in 2017 possibly posing the biggest threat on the cross country course, a title that has belonged to Oak Mountain over the last couple of years.

The Jaguars have some of the state’s best runners on their team this year and on Saturday, Sept. 2, they traveled out of state to Memphis to compete in the 2017 Brooks Memphis Twilight Classic against some of the best XC talent from across the country.

Spain Park took home a 13th-place finish as a team in the event with a point total of 195, which was 155 points behind Parkway West High School’s winning score of 40 points. The Jags just missed out on a top 10 finish picking up 22 more points than Eureka High School’s total of 173.

Still though, it marked a strong start to the 2017 season for SPHS on a national stage as they prepare for what is expected to be a state championship type of year.

Charlie Trower, a sophomore, paced the Jags with a finish of 47th after running the 5,000-meter race in 17:08.68 for a team-best 21 points. He was a little less than 2:00 off the winning pace of 15:24.75 set by Henry County High School’s Titus Winders.

Senior Cole Dillard wasn’t too far off Trower’s pace finishing in 59th with a time of 17:17.83, just nine seconds behind his teammate.

Slide down almost 30 spots and you’ll find senior Morgan Becker, who finished in 87th with a time of 17:40.52 and just behind him was Isaac Shore, who finished 102nd with a time of 17:49.42.

Seniors Kai Ozug and Elijah McKinley also finished inside the top 200 with times of 18:03.82 and 18:26.33, respectively. Ozug took home a finish of 132nd, while McKinley finished in 173rd.

Andrew Gedgoudas, another senior, picked up a spot in the top 300 by finishing 220th with a time of 18:54.82. Junior Sam Gray was the last runner for Spain Park finishing in 328th with a time of 20:17.04.

Only the top five scores counted towards the Jags’ final score with Trower picking up 21, Dillard 25, Becker 39, Shore 48 and Ozug 62 for the total of 195.

Out of 453 runners at the event, Spain Park showed they can compete with some of the best runners in the country. The Jags will now prepare for the Chickasaw Trails Invitational in Oakville on Sept. 9, which will include several county teams, before hosting the Spain Park Cross Country Classic on Sept. 16, at Veterans Park.