Hogue wins Chickasaw Invitational, local teams fare well

Published 10:15 am Thursday, September 13, 2018

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

OAKVILLE – We’ve come to know Thompson senior McKenzie Hogue over the last year-and-a-half thanks to her dominant presence on the cross country course as well as the track during track and field season.

On Saturday, Sept. 8, Hogue continued to show why she is one of the best runners not just in the state, but the country when she won the 2018 Chickasaw Trails Invitational held at Oakville Indian Mounds Park in Oakville.

Hogue didn’t just win one of the largest regular-season races of the year, she dominated it, beating out the state’s No. 1 runner by 45 seconds thanks to her time of 18:31.28 in the 5,000-meter race.

It continued a strong two years of running for Hogue, who has rarely finished outside of the top 3 since the start of the 2017 running season. Her strong performances have earned her the ranking of the 61st best runner among all seniors in the country.  She is also ranked second in the state behind Catholic-Montgomery’s Amaris Tyynismaa.

Hogue was one of several local runners to fare well in the girls’ competition and had the company of Spain Park freshman Mackenzie Culpepper in the top 10.

Culpepper finished the race in 19:41.73 to finish in seventh place and just over a minute off of Hogue’s winning time.

The next highest finisher from the county was Pelham’s Katie Strozier. Like Hogue, Strozier is a senior that had an extremely impressive junior season and will make some noise this season.

Strozier, competing against the best runners in the state, finished the event in 20:29.44, which earned her a finish of 17th.

Two Oak Mountain runners also showed some promise finishing inside the top 30 and one position apart from each other.

Emma Grace Phillips, a sophomore, finished in 28th with a time of 20:44.16, while Evie Bell, a junior, finished one spot lower in 29th with a time of 20:47.43.

Another name worth mentioning is Chelsea’s Teanna Cason, who had a strong year as a sophomore last year, and brought home a finish of 36th in this event with a time of 21:04.19.

Pelham had the highest finish of any local team in 11th thanks to Meredith Bass, Alex Wilkins, Madilyn Dubose and Sydney Stephenson all finishing inside the top 100 of the 233-person field.

Just like the girls race, Spain Park and Thompson had the only two top-10 finishes in the boys race as well.

It started with Spain Park’s Jacob Warner, who finished the race in eighth place with a time of 16:11.19, which was less than 40 seconds off the winning pace in the tightly contested race.

Just one spot lower was Thompson’s Jace Jones, a junior, who finished the race with a time of 16:11.85, which was almost the exact same time as Warner.

Not much further behind Jones was teammate Brandon DeMarcus Lee, who finished in 11th with a time of 16:17.91.

Pelham’s Adam Keller gave the county one more finisher in the top 15 with his finish of 14th thanks to a time of 16:24.90.

Oak Mountain’s highest finisher was senior Jonah Barrett’s finish of 21st with a time of 16:44.35, but he was the first of three finishers inside the top 30 for the Eagles.

Hansen McCown and Walker Cole were just a few spots behind Barrett finishing in 25th and 26th, respectively.

Thanks to that consistency, Oak Mountain was the highest team finisher of our local teams, taking home sixth in the team standings.