All three of county’s 7A teams have strong showing at state meet
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor
GULF SHORES – All three of Shelby County’s Class 7A teams sent several athletes to the 2018 AHSAA State Track and Field Championships held in Gulf Shores May 3-5, and had chances to not only win individual state championships, but a team title as well.
While none ended up winning a title, each team had strong representation in several events, with many of the athletes setting personal records, finishing inside the top 10 or winning an individual state championship. A recap from each team’s performance is below.
Thompson had the best chance of the three to win a state championship in both the boys and girls event thanks to a strong regular season that saw several athletes make a name for themselves. Neither won, but both finished inside the top 10 of a very competitive field with the girls taking fifth and the boys taking eighth.
While neither won the title, several had individual performances that were more than worthy of praise starting with none other than McKenzie Hogue, who won two state championships.
Hogue has dominated the 1,600-meter run and the 3,200-meter run all season and she continued that dominance in the state meet with a state title in each race. In addition to those two wins, Hogue finished less than a second from winning a title in the 800-meter run as well. She finished that race in 2:14.10, while the winner finished in 2:13.38.
Zakira Holifield also had a strong end to her sophomore season. She was able to finish fifth in the 100-meter dash and improved two spots in the 200-meter dash by finishing in third place.
The Warriors had a nice team effort in the 4X100-meter relay race, as the team was able to win a state championship in the event by a total of 0.30 seconds after running the race in 47.47.
Zoria Miller was able to finish fifth in the shot put finals and seventh in the javelin throw, while Ebony Butler took sixth in the discus throw and Niya Oden grabbed seventh in the triple jump.
Viktor Turek and Steve Villegas led the boys team, with Turek winning a state championship in the discus throw. He also finished fifth in the shot put, which was one position behind Villegas in fourth.
While Samuel Holmes, Jace Jones, Dominique Hall, Thomas Cousins, Brandon Lee, Timothy Osborne and several others ran well individually, they ran better as a team.
Thompson was able to put together strong finishes in each of the three relay races including sixth in the 4X100-meter race, fourth in the 4X400-meter race and fifth in the 4X800-meter race.
Oak Mountain got several strong performances as well leading to a ninth place finish for the girls and a 12th place finish for the boys.
The boys were led by Trey Allen, who was able to jump 6 feet 10 inches in the high jump which set a new state record to pick up an individual state championship.
Harrison Dimick was able to pick up a fourth-place finish in the discus finals thanks to a distance of 147 feet and 11 inches.
The girls continued to be led by Nicole Payne, who added another individual state championship for the Eagles thanks to her victory in the 400-meter dash. With her time of 54.04 seconds, she broke the state record in the event.
Payne then went on to win the prelims of the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.11 seconds before finishing second in the actual race with a time of 24.27 seconds.
The Eagles were able to get their last podium finish in the 4X400-meter relay with a time of 3:53.56, which was less than a second behind Hoover for second place.
Spain Park also had some noteworthy performances and were able to finish 14th in the boys standings and 12th in the girls standings because of those standout individuals.
The biggest highlight for the boys came from Matthew Gray in the shot put finals thanks to a distance of 50 feet 7.75 inches, which was good enough for second in the event.
Steven Pate was able to gather a second top-five finish for the Jags in the discus throw with his finish of fifth.
Sydney Taylor added another strong showing for Spain Park as she got the girls going with a sixth-place finish in the 100-meter dash.
McKenzie Culpepper ended her year on a high note as well thanks to a third-place finish in the 3,200-meter run, a seventh-place finish in the 1,600-meter run and a ninth-place finish in the 800-meter run.
The final highlight for Spain Park came in the discus finals where Katelyn McClure was able to pick up a finish of fourth to add yet another top-five finisher.
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