Oak Mountain sweeps Early Bird 5K races

Published 4:01 pm Tuesday, August 28, 2018

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

MONTEVALLO – Through one event of the 2018 cross country season, the Oak Mountain Eagles’ cross country team has already shown it will be a team worth watching this year thanks to its strong start at the 2018 Montevallo Early Bird event.

During the race, held at the University of Montevallo cross country course on Aug. 24, the Oak Mountain boys and girls both took home the top prize after winning the 5,000-meter race as not only a team, but also in the individual portion of the competition.

With the competition split into different races, featuring the boys gold 5K, girls gold 5K, boys purple 5K, girls purple 5K, boys white 5K and girls white 5K, the Eagles had a runner finish inside the top 10 of each race they competed in, which were the purple and gold races.

With the main event being the gold bracket, Oak Mountain was able to pick up a win in the girls’ gold race thanks to returning runner Evie Bell, who was one of the best runners in the county last year.

Bell ended up taking home the top spot in the 5,000-meter race thanks to a time of 20:25.92, which edged out Hoover’s Haley Stallworth by 16 seconds.

Her first-place finish was also key in Oak Mountain taking home the top spot overall as a team. With 44 points, the Eagles finished eight points ahead of Pelham and 12 points ahead of Hoover to claim the victory.

Sophomore Emma Grace Phillips and junior Adrienne Cooley were also key reasons for the success by the team thanks to their top 10 finishes as well.

Phillips finished seventh overall with a time of 21:12.28, while Cooley was just two spots behind her teammate in ninth with a time of 21:45.32.

Kate Van Beek was also a key contributor with her finish of 12th, as she got off to a strong start to begin her senior year. She finished the race in 22:02.61.

Jamie Harry was the last runner to finish inside the top 20 for Oak Mountain thanks to her finish of 20th, while teammate Savannah Michael was two spots behind in 22nd.

While the boys’ team didn’t have an individual champion like the girls, they did pick up an overall team win at the event, and by a dominant 21 points over Hoover.

A big reason for that success was because of three runners inside the top 10 and four inside the top 12.

The highest of those finishers was senior Jonah Barrett, who claimed a second-place finish with a time of 16:47.91, which was 24 seconds off the winning pace.

In seventh and eighth were the other two Oak Mountain runners to finish inside the top 10 as Hansen McCown and Walker Cole took those two spots with times of 17:10.45 and 17:11.43, respectively.

Bryce Keefover, one of the most consistent runners around, also had a nice start to his senior season with the finish of 12th thanks to a time of 17:31.82.

The only other top 25 finisher for Oak Mountain was Josh Scherer in 24th with a time of 18:15.11, but Kenny Chavez and Reese Bell finished just inside the top 30 to close out a strong team effort.

In the purple races, Oak Mountain was led by Sklyer Johnston, who finished second in the boys’ race with a time of 18:29.41, and Gabby Rodriguez, who finished in sixth with a time of 23:51.59 in the girls’ race.