Several local runners flourish at Jesse Owens XC meet

Published 2:03 pm Wednesday, October 10, 2018

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

OAKVILLE – Every year, Oakville Indian Mounds Park in Oakville hosts one of the biggest running events across the Southeast and on Oct. 6, several of the best teams from the region flocked to the park for the 2018 edition of the Jesse Owens Classic, including most of the state’s elite programs.

Out of more than 200 runners in the boys and girls gold division races, three combined local runners finished inside the top 10 of their respective races, including one top-5 runner.

The highest finisher of any county runner in the gold division race was none other than Thompson’s McKenzie Hogue, who finished fifth in the girls’ race with a time of 18:10.05. The winning time was set by Sasha Neglia of Dobyns-Bennett High School from Tennessee. Hogue was one of just three runners from the state to finish inside the top 10.

Jacob Warner, a senior at Spain Park, was just one spot lower than Hogue as the highest finisher in the boys’ race thanks to his sixth-place position with a time of 15:56.36.

Warner was one of two runners from the county to finish inside the top 10 of the boys’ race thanks to another Thompson runner having a strong showing. Brandon DeMarcus Lee got back to his typical ways and finished ninth in the race with a time of 16:03.89.

The next highest finisher in the boys’ race, and the only other county runner in the top 50 of the gold division, was Thompson junior Jace Jones, who finished in 41st with a time of 16:45.23.

Those three local runners had strong showings in a boys’ race that featured 256 participants.

Spain Park freshman Mackenzie Culpepper was the only other local runner in the girls’ gold division race, finishing in 32nd with a time of 19:44.34.

The gold division was just one of five races featuring local runners, however, as several performed well in the silver, bronze, green and red races.

In the boys’ silver race, Helena sophomore Brady Barton had the highest finish taking seventh place with a time of 16:57.44.

Talon Pritchard also gave the Huskies a strong showing with his finish of 27th thanks to a time of 17:25.54.

The next two highest finishers were from Chelsea and Pelham as Miles Bursh and T.J. Gennari finished 38th and 39th, respectively.

Thompson’s Luke Doe finished a few spots lower in 47th, while Chelsea’s Cade Neuberger took 52nd.

The girls’ silver division featured strong showings from Pelham’s Katie Strozier, who tied for the highest finish of any county runner in the five different divisions, as well as Chelsea’s Teanna Cason.

Strozier finished the race with a time of 19:57.14, which was good enough for an incredible finish of second in the race that featured 286 runners from around the Southeast.

Cason, a junior for the Hornets, wasn’t too much lower in 11th with a time of 20:29.74, as she continued her strong season.

Pelham’s Alex Wilkins (35), Meredith Bass (47), Madilyn Dubose (52), Brooke Monti (64) and Sydney Stephenson (97), all finished inside the top 100 to give Pelham an unbelievable team finish of third.

Helena’s Ana Watters finished in 73rd as the only other 6A runner in the top 100.

Spain Park’s Holland Lidikay had a strong showing as well, finishing 32nd, while the Jags also got top-100 finishes from Mary Virginia Mckinley, Lyric Bryant, Paige Walls and Abigail Jenkins.

Emily Allen led Thompson with a finish of 25th in the race thanks to a time of 20:53.87, while Abby Grace Walker, Ryleigh Easterling and Hannah Casey all finished inside the top 101.

In the boys’ bronze race, Briarwood’s Trent Malloy was one of the other second-place finishers, as he finished just seven seconds off the winning time clocking in at 16:39.95 in a race that featured 478 runners.

Joseph Bell was the Lions’ only other top-100 runner with a finish of 91st, as Briarwood took 12th in the team standings.

Briarwood’s girls also had a top-5 runner as eighth grader Chloe Finocchiaro finished in fourth with a time of 20:32.08.

The Lions had three more finish inside the top 40 as Lauren Musachia took 30th, Cady McPhail took 35th and Adrienne Goolsby took 36th.

Morgan harris finished 100th on the dot, while Grace Lovell and Stella Bell were just behind in 105th and 109th, respectively.

The team had a strong showing and finished fourth in the overall standings.

Shelby County’s Emilie Chapple finished 89th to finish inside the top 100 with a time of 24:08.92.

The final race featuring local runners was the green division, and in the girls’ race we saw our third and final second-place finisher as Westminster at Oak Mountain’s Hallie Porterfield finished the race with a time of 20:09.03 to claim the silver spot on the podium.

The Knights had two other runners inside the top 20 as Katie Wright and Arden McCullough finished 15th and 17th, respectively.

With Cammi Griffith, Izzy Giddens and Bekah Anderson all finishing inside the top 85, the Knights were able to claim the championship of the division finishing with 123 points, which was 14 points ahead of second place.

The Westminster boys didn’t have a top-30 finisher, but they did have four runners in the top 80, which led to a team finish of 10th. Cooper Reynolds led the way with his finish of 33rd.