Records and state champions highlight Class 7A state indoor meet

Published 12:15 pm Sunday, February 3, 2019

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

BIRMINGHAM – It was a hectic final weekend of the indoor track and field season as several of the state’s best teams converged on the AHSAA Indoor Track and Field State Championships, where several local teams had an impressive showing, especially in the 7A classification.

As Oak Mountain, Spain Park and Thompson all saw several of their best boys and girls athletes competing for a state championship, they were in for a surprise as several records were set and the county had one of its best overall showings from top to bottom in a while.

In the overall team standings, Oak Mountain’s boys were able to put together an inspirational effort that saw the Eagles finish in second just behind state champion Hoover thanks to a collective team effort from their athletes. Behind that, Thompson finished in fifth with several highlights, while the Spain park Jaguars took home 10th with some standout showings as well.

On the girls’ side of the event, the overall team finishes weren’t quite as high with the Eagles finishing ninth, the Warriors finishing 10th and the Jaguars finishing 13th, but that didn’t diminish several impressive record-setting performances by several athletes.

Starting with the Eagles in both boys and girls, three individual athletes come to mind: Aaron Brooks, Nicole Payne and Trey Allen.

Those three combined for four individual state championships and were the only three individual state champions for the Eagles.

Payne, who has become a natural at setting records, did that yet again in both the 60-meter dash and 400-meter dash as she won the state championship in both.

In the 400-meter dash, Payne broke her own record by setting the all-time indoor record with a time of 54.11 seconds. She followed that up with a time of 7.54 seconds in the 60-meter dash, which set a new Class 7A record for that event as well to claim two state championships.

Allen, who set the state record in the boys’ high jump event two weeks ago with a height of 7 feet, went on to set a state meet record with a height of 6 feet 9 inches to become the 7A high jump state championship. He attempted to break his record of 7 feet by attempting to clear 7 feet 1 inch, but narrowly missed doing so.

Brooks also had an extremely special day setting a personal record time of 6.94 seconds to win the 60-meter dash by .03 seconds ahead of Spain Park’s Kameron McDaniel to win a state championship himself.

The Eagles also had several other strong performances with Glen Humphrey, Harrison Dimick, the boys 4X200-meter relay team and the boys 4X400-meter relay team all finished inside the top three.

Humphrey was able to take home a second-place finish in the 400-meter dash, while Dimick finished second finished second in the shot put finals.

The 4X200-meter relay team also took home second, while the 4X400-meter team took home third.

For the girls, the Evie Bell was able to pick up a seventh-place finish in the 800-meter run, while finishing sixth in the 1,600-meter run. The 4X200-meter relay team was able to pick up a fourth-place finish, while the 4X200-meter team was fifth.

Thompson by far had the most athletes of any local team competing in the event and several of them capitalized on the opportunity.

Jace Jones, Sam Reynolds, Brandon DeMarcus Lee, Jared Hurst, Gavin Gray, Julian Woods, Dominique Hall, Blake Ellis, Steve Villegas, the 4X200-meter relay team and the 4X400-meter relay team all highlighted the boys team alone.

Reynolds was one of the strongest in two different events finishing fifth in the 60-meter dash and eighth in the long jump.

Jones also had a strong showing and was actually leading the 1,600-meter run just ahead of the finish line before falling down. He regained his composure, got up, and was able to cross the line in third place. He also finished sixth in the 800-meter run, and while he was heartbroken after the fall in the 1,600-meter, he’s still just a junior and will have both outdoor season this year and both indoor and outdoor next year for a shot at redemption.

In the 3,200-meter race, Lee was able to finish sixth for a strong showing as well.

Hurst, a sophomore, was able to finish fifth in the high jump, while Gray was just two spots lower in seventh. In the triple jump, Woods also picked up a seventh-place finish.

The Warriors also had two strong showings in the pole vault event with Hall and Ellis finishing third and fourth, respectively. Villegas was able to pick up a podium finish in the shot put event by taking home third. The two relay teams finished fifth and sixth.

For the girls, Zakiria Holifield, Niya Oden, Briana Rapley, Zoria Miller and the 4X200-meter relay team all were impressive.

Oden competed in several events and finished second in the triple jump, sixth in the 60-meter dash and ninth in the long jump to lead the Warriors. In the 60-meter dash, Holifield was able to finish just ahead of Oden in fourth.

In the 60 meter hurdles, Rapley picked up another top-five finish by taking home fifth. Miller also fared well in the shot put by taking home fourth.

The last podium finish came in the 4X200-meter relay for the girls, as they finished in third.

The Spain Park Jaguars had some impressive showings as well thanks to Kameron McDaniel, Matthew Gray, Zac Shaw, Sydney Taylor and Hala Barakat all finished inside the top 10.

Gray was able to become a state champion for the Jags with his first-place finish in the shot put thanks to a distance of 57 feet .25 inches. Shaw, his teammate, finished the event in fifth to give the Jags two top five finishers.

McDaniel was also a podium finisher after grabbing second in the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.97 seconds, which was just .03 seconds behind Brooks.

In the girls’ 60-meter dash finals, Taylor was able to earn a spot on the podium by adding another silver medal. She picked up second with a time of 7.83 seconds just behind Payne’s record-setting pace.

Barakat was the final highlight for the Jags with her finish of seventh in the girls shot put finals.

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