Four girls teams finish in top 10 at Spain Park

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

HOOVER – It was a strong showing for six county girls cross country teams at the Spain Park Cross Country Classic on Saturday, Sept. 16, at Veterans Park as Oak Mountain, Westminster at Oak Mountain, Pelham and Spain Park all finished in the top 10.

While each came into the season with high expectations, the impressive start by all four in their first big event of the season was more than any of them could have asked for.

Oak Mountain led the way finishing in third in the overall team standings, which the boys’ team also did.

The Eagles were led by the highest individual finish in the girls classification as Evie Bell finished in 11th with a time of 20:54.24.

Nicole Payne and Emma Grace were the next highest finishers for Oak Mountain as both finished inside the top 25. Payne, a sophomore, grabbed the 20th spot with a time of 21:33.54, while Grace, a freshman, finished in 24th with a time of 21:52.60.

Three others finished in the top 50 for the Eagles as Kate Van Beek finished in 35th, Anna McGowan in 36th and Jamie Harry in 46th. Adrienne Cooley finished just outside the top 50 with a finish of 54th.

Pelham had the next highest individual finish behind Bell as junior Katie Strozer finished the 5,000-meter race in 20:56.62, which was good enough for 11th.

Meredith Bass gave the Panthers two finishers in the top 25 by finishing in 25th with a time of 21:55.04. Those two were Pelham’s only two top 50 finishers, but consistency from several other runners led to an overall finish of eighth in the team standings.

Just ahead of the Panthers in seventh was Westminster at Oak Mountain, who were led by two strong individual performances.

Sarah Kate Lipper, a senior for the Knights, finished the race in 21:16.63, which led to a finish of 15th, while Camilla Lemons, also a senior, finished in 23rd with a time of 21:51.93.

The finish of Rachel Faulk in 53rd with a time of 22:51.62, along with Izzy Giddens and Katie Hoaglund in 75th and 76th, respectively, was the difference maker in seventh and eighth place.

Spain Park finished just behind Westminster and Pelham in ninth thanks in large part to sophomore Holland Lidikay, who finished in 22nd with a time of 21:35.13.

Another sophomore for the Jags in Mary Virginia McKinley, finished as their next highest finisher in 40th with a time of 22:35.03. Haley Hickman, Paige Walls, Kristen Hopkins, Elizabeth DeVane and Stpehanie Peters all finished in the top 100 for Spain Park.

Helena and Chelsea competed and finished in 12th and 13th, respectively. The Huskies were led by Abigail Ford in 29th with a time of 22:07.96 and Ana Watters in 42nd with a time of 22:38.27.

Chelsea’s highest finisher was Teanna Cason, a sophomore, who finished the race in 31st with a time of 22:12.64.

The Shelby County Wildcats also had four runners in the event and were led by top 100 finishers in Jorja Nassirian and Emilie Chapple. Nassifian, a freshman, finished in 92nd, while Chapple, a sophomore, finished in 100th.

Photos available at www.shelbycountyphotos.com