County has 27 in top 50 of Spain Park Cross Country Classic

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

HOOVER – The Spain Park Cross Country Classic girls’ race brought several competitive teams together to compete for the title, and in the overall team standings, Spain Park, Helena, Oak Mountain and Chelsea finished third through sixth, respectively, to put together a strong showing for Shelby County teams.

Two of the best girls runners from the county, Spain Park’s MacKenzie Culpepper and Chelsea’s Teanna Cason, continued to shine in the event with Culpepper finishing third and Cason finishing sixth.

Culpepper, who entered the race off a finish of 13th at the Chickasaw Trails Invitational, was able to put together a strong showing in her second event of the season thanks to finishing with a time of 20:36.94.

Cason, who was also coming in with a lot of confidence after setting a personal record in the Early Bird Twilight to start the season and following that up with a finish of 20th at the Chickasaw meet, was able to finish the race with a time of 21:07.99. That was her slowest time of the year to this point, but tied for her highest finish due to the way the race was ran.

The county also had two other runners finish inside the top 15 thanks to Oak Mountain’s Emma Grace Phillips claiming 12th with a time of 21:39.41 and Spain Park’s Chloe Finnocchiaro finishing 13th with a time of 21:47.94.

Three other local runners finished inside the top 20, while a total of six more finished inside the top 25.

The three other top 20 runners were Helena’s Ana Watters and Madison Tsimpides and Spain Park’s Peyton LeCroy. Those three finished 16th-18th, respectively. Watters finished with a time of 22:14.08, Tsimpides finished with a time of 22:43.15 and LeCroy finished with a time of 22:44.43.

Oak Mountain’s Adrienne Cooley, Spain Park’s Mary Virginia McKinley and Chelsea’s Avery Thompson were the other three top 25 finishers. Cooley finished the race with a time of 23:17.38, McKinley finished with a time of 23:27.88 and Thompson finished with a time of 23:39.45.

Lexi Ray of Oak Mountain, Abigail Ford of Helena and Elise Picard of Indian Springs added three more finishers in the top 30 for the county. Ray finished the race with a time of 24:35.43, Ford finished with a time of 24:42.54 and Picard finished with a time of 24:45.54.

Runners from the county also took up five of the spots between 31st and 40th.

Helena’s Mallory Barton finished 31st, Spain Park’s Abigail Jenkins finished 32nd, Helena’s Ashlynn Beery finished 33rd, Oak Mountain’s Madeline Hubbert finished 35th and Chelsea’s Joss O’Kelley finished 39th.

And from 41st-50th, the county ended up with nine more runners thanks to impressive efforts from Oak Mountain’s Sydney Heidrich, Sarah Buttery, Emily Faircloth and Clair Wilson, Indian Springs’ Caroline Beisher, Chelsea’s Kimberly Rodriguez and Tyndal Ann Griffith, and Helena’s Emery Bishop and Samantha Ranson.

Other team with noteworthy finishers were Montevallo thanks to Yulliana Gutierrez’s finish of 55th and Shelby County thanks to Mary Moore’s finish of 56th.

In all, 27 runners from Shelby County were able to claim a spot inside the top 50 of the individual standings.