Eagles, Warriors sweep Shelby County XC meet, local teams fare well

Published 4:49 pm Wednesday, September 26, 2018

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor 

ALABASTER – Several of the county’s best cross country teams were pitted against each other on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at Alabaster’s Veterans Park, as they took part in the 2018 Shelby County Cross Country Championship.

It’s an event that is looked forward to each season among the different teams across the county, as it not only brings some of the best local teams together, but some of the best runners and teams from the state to one event looking for bragging rights thanks to the county’s deep line of runners.

Briarwood, Calera, Chelsea, Helena, Montevallo, Oak Mountain, Pelham, Shelby County and host Thompson, all competed in the event and each school had noteworthy performances in both the boys and girls races.

While several of the visiting teams left their mark on the course, it was the host team that swept both races thanks to first-place finishes from Thompson’s McKenzie Hogue, girls race, and Jace Jones.

It’s almost become an expected outcome for Hogue to finish inside the top 3 of every event, if not win it, and that held true in this race as she took the top spot with a time of 19:45.29. That time beat out second by 1:02.

Jones also continued his impressive junior season, taking the top spot with a time of 16:52.35, which was 12 seconds faster than his closest competitor.

In the boys’ race, the overall team standings saw the Oak Mountain Eagles claim the title thanks to a total of 38 points with four runners in the top 10 and seven in the top 20.

Thompson claimed second place, Helena third place, Pelham fourth place, Chelsea fifth place, Briarwood sixth place and Calera seventh place.

In the girls’ race, Oak Mountain was able to claim first place to pull off the sweep of the team event like Thompson had done in the individual race. The Eagles did so thanks to four top-10 finishers and eight top-21 finishers.

Pelham was runner up in the girls’ race, while Thompson finished third, Helena finished fourth, Chelsea finished fifth, Briarwood finished sixth and Calera finished seventh.

Behind Jones in the boys’ race, Pelham’s Adam Keller finished in second with a time of 17:04.29, while Brandon DeMarcus Lee gave the Warriors a second finisher inside the top three with his finish of third thanks to a time of 17:07. 36.

Behind that it was three Oak Mountain runners as Hansen McCown, Jonah Barrett and Walker Cole finished fourth through sixth, respectively.

Briarwood’s Trent Mallow finished in seventh with a time of 17:52.04, while Chelsea freshman Miles Brush had a strong showing with his finish of eighth thanks to a time of 17:57.52.

Oak Mountain’s Bryce Keefover and Helena’s Talon Pritchard closed out the top 10 with finishes of ninth and 10th, respectively.

Behind Hogue in the top three of the girls’ race were two of the county’s best runners in Evie Bell and Katie Strozer. Bell, a junior at Oak Mountain, took second place, while Strozier, a senior at Pelham grabbed third place.

The other two top-5 finishers were Chelsea’s Teanna Cason and Oak Mountain’s Emma Grace Phillips in fourth and fifth, respectively.

Thompson had two other top-10 runners thanks to Emily Allen’s finish of sixth and Abby Grace Walker’s finish of 10th.

Oak Mountain’s Nicole Payne continued to be one of the best runners in the county with her finish of seventh for the Eagles, while her teammate Kate Van Beek finished two spots lower in ninth.

The final runner in the top 10 was Helena’s Ana Watters with an eighth-place finish thanks to a time of 22:27.73.