Several 7A runners headed to state meet

Published 4:21 pm Friday, November 2, 2018

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

TRUSSVILLE – Several Class 7A cross country runners earned a spot at the state meet on Nov. 10 when they took part in the Class 7A, Section 3 race at Hewitt-Trussville on Friday, Nov. 2, but only one full team from Shelby County will make the trip, while a few other individual runners will as well.

The only 7A team from the county to advance to the state meet at Oakville Indian Mounds will be the Oak Mountain Eagles, who took home a third-place finish in the section meet behind Vestavia Hills and Mountain Brook, respectively.

The Rebels took home first with 63 total points, while the Spartans finished just three points lower with 66 points for second place.

With the top four teams advancing to the state meet, the Eagles were able to solidly earn a tip thanks to that third-place finish with 80 points, which was nine points ahead of Hoover in fourth for the last spot, and 17 points ahead of Hewitt-Trussville, who was the first team out.

Oak Mountain was led by six runners inside the top 30, but had just one top 10 finisher in Walker Cole. The sophomore finished the race in 16:38. 26, which was good enough for eighth place.

Teammate Jonah Barrett, a senior, was the next highest finisher for the Eagles, coming in 11th with a time of 16:44.21.

Two other seniors in Hansen McCown and Bryce Keefover finished inside the top 20. McCown took home a finish of 17th with a time of 17:01.65, while Keefover finished in 19th with a time of 17:10.84.

Sophomore Kenny Chavez and freshman Reese Bell were the final two runners to finish inside the top 30 for the Eagles. Chavez took 25th with a time of 17:35.30, while Bell finished in 27th with a time of 17:39.48.

Outside of Oak Mountain’s entire team, three other local runners will get a chance to compete for the individual title at the state meet thanks to being one of the six best runners outside of the four automatic qualifying teams.

Thompson was responsible for two of those runner, as Jace Jones and Brandon DeMarcus Lee both finished inside the top six of the race.

Jones was actually the county’s highest finisher in third place with a time of 16:20.11. Lee finished just three spots lower in sixth with a time of 16:30.89.

The other runner headed to the state meet is Spain Park’s Jacob Warner, who was the second highest finisher coming one spot behind Jones. Warner took third with a time of 16:28.37.

For the girls race, no team was able to advance, but the top six to advance outside of the four qualifying teams were all from the county.

One of those runners was Spain Park freshman Mackenzie Culpepper, who had the highest finish of any local runner in the girls race, taking third with a time of 19:21.89.

Just a few spots lower in eighth was Oak Mountain junior Evie Bell, who finished the race in 20:08.03.

Those were the only two top-10 finishers, but two more runners were able to finish inside the top 20.

Spain Park’s Holland Lidikay took home 18th with a time of 20:50.03, while Thompson’s Emily Allen finished one spot lower with a time of 20:54.92.

Oak Mountain added one more state runner in Emma Grace Phillips, who finished in 24th with a time of 21:10.52.

The Jaguars concluded a strong day with one more finisher inside the top 30 and the last qualifying runner as well thanks to freshman Lyric Bryant’s finish of 27th with a time of 21:12.79

Of note, Oak Mountain’s Gabby Rodriguez and Thompson’s McKenzie Hogue, one of the state’s best runners, were the first two out.