Westminster boys and girls win state title

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

OAKVILLE – The Westminster at Oak Mountain Knights running program continued making noise at the 2017 AHSAA XC State Championship Meet at Oakville Indian Mounds Park on Saturday, Nov. 11.

Both the Knights’ boys and girls cross country teams qualified for the event after winning their sectional races and both teams continued their winning ways in the biggest event of the season picking up two more state championships for the school.

The boys and girls both had runner-up finishes in 2014, while the girls were runner-up in 2015 as well. Now, in 2017, both have state championships.

It marked a repeat title performance from 2016 for the girls, who have now finished in the top 2 the last four years. The boys on the other hand picked up their first state championship in school history.

It was a strong performance for the guys team that features several of the same runners from Westminster’s boys track and field team that won the state championship in the spring. Combined between track and field and cross country, Westminster now has six state championships and 12 runner-up finishes.

Both teams had three finishers inside the top 10 of the individual standings. The girls ended up with five in the top 15, while the boys had four in the top 15.

The girls were led by Hallie Porterfield in third. Just a freshman, Porterfield finished the race in 19:34.46, which was 12 seconds off the pace of the championship time. It marked just the second time she had run a sub-20 time as she beat her old personal record set in the sectional race by 25 seconds.

Just behind her in fourth and seventh, respectively, was senior Sarah Kate Lipperd and sophomore Arden McCullough. Lipperd finished with a time of 19:36.11, while McCullough finished with a time of 20:12.66. Both were new personal records.

Closing out the top 15 were seniors Rachel Faulk in 13th and Camilla Lemons in 15th. Faulk finished with a time of 21:16.72, while Lemons finished with a time of 21:25.97.

Seventh grader Katie Wright was the Knights’ fifth top-20 finisher with a time of 21:42.64.

As a team, the Westminster girls finished with a total of 32 points, which was 69 points higher than Hatton and St. Lukes’ Episcopal in second with 101 points each.

The Knights’ boys squad was led by senior Nate Collins. In his last race for the school, Collins finished in second with a time of 16:15.74, which beat his previous personal record of 16:44.66 by close to 30 seconds.

Hunter Wright gave Westminster a second top-5 finisher, taking fifth on the dot. Wright, a freshman, finished the race in an astounding 16:42.62, which was also a new personal record for the young runner.

Junior John Porterfield was the last top-10 finisher for the Knights in ninth, while fellow junior Cooper Reynolds finished one spot outside of the top 10 in 11th.

Porterfield ran the race in 17:13.07, while Reynolds finished in 17:16.93. Porterfield was just four seconds from beating his personal record, while Reynolds blew his old record out of the water.

Reynolds previous fastest time was 18:40.38, meaning he beat that record by almost 1:30 and ran his first ever sub-18 race in the state championship.

Seniors Daniel Collins and Pierce Moffett also had strong showings, finishing in 18th and 21st, respectively. Collins finished with a time of 17:56.20, while Moffett ran the race in 18:08.99.

The boys finished with a total of 43 points, which beat Cold Springs by 34 points and Altamont by 35 points.