Thompson wins Daphne Invitational

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor 

SPANISH FORT – Highlighted by Brandon DeMarcus Lee finishing first overall for the second time in six days, the Thompson Warriors were able to win the Daphne Invitational cross country event on Saturday, Sept. 30, held in Spanish Fort.

Lee, a junior for the Warriors, finished in first at the Shelby County Cross Country Championship earlier in the week with a time of 16:39.22, but he did something even more spectacular in this race.

His lowest time according to Alabamarunners.com heading into the event was a time of 15:58.83 at the Jesse Owens Classic almost one year ago exactly on Oct. 1, 2016. At the Daphne Invitational, Lee finished just one second behind that record time by finishing the event in 15:59.70.

Those are the only two times he has unbelievably finished a 5,000-meter race in less than 16 minutes. Last season, Lee had three first place finishes in 10 events and already has two in four events this year.

His efforts along with three other top 10 finishers led the Warriors to the overall team championship as well. Thompson finished with a total of 28 points, which was 26 ahead of Baker High School’s 54 points in second place.

Jace Jones, a sophomore for Thompson, finished right behind his teammate in second place with a time of 16:36.30, which according to Alabamarunners.com narrowly beat his previous fastest time of 16:36.92.

The second place finish also tied his career best, which also came six days earlier at the Shelby County XC Championship.

Seniors Thomas Cousins and Jacob Wyatt also finished in the top 10 for the Warriors taking fifth and sixth, respectively. Cousins finished with a time of 16:58.10, while Wyatt finished with a time of 17:00.90.

Connor Gregory, a freshman, and Chandler Ferguson, a senior, both finished inside the top 20. Gregory took 14th with a time of 17:37.10, while Ferguson finished in 16th with a time of 17:38.70.

The only other two Thompson runners in the race, Luke Doe and Josh Cofield, finished in 31st and 38th, respectively.

Doe, a junior, finished the race with a time of 18:16.20, while Cofield, a senior, finished with a time of 18:43.70.

While there were no team standings for the girls, Thompson’s girls team had a strong showing as well with four runners finishing in the top 25.

Yet again, they were led by McKenzie Hogue, who similar to Lee was coming off a championship at the Shelby County race.

Hogue, a junior, finished the event in second place with a time of 18:13.80 in a photo finish that left her heartbreakingly off the winning time of 18:13.50, just 0.3 seconds behind Grace Jensen of McGill-Toolen.

The Warriors had two other top 20 finishers in the race as freshmen Ryleigh Easterling and Emily Allen finished in 17th and 20th, respectively. Easterling had a time of 21:46.40, while Allen finished in 22:04.60.

Danielle Keene also had a strong showing at the event running the race in 22:13.90, which was good enough for 25th in the overall standings.