Oak Mountain’s Cole wins Spain Park XC meet, others run well

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

HOOVER – It’s been a strong start to the 2019 cross country season for Oak Mountain junior Walker Cole and on Saturday, Sept. 14, he continued it with his first win of the fall sports season at the Spain Park Cross Country Classic.

Cole, who entered the race with previous finishes of third at the Early Bird Twilight and fourth at the Chickasaw Trails Invitational, ran the race in a blistering speed of 16:53.89 to claim the top spot in the 5,000-meter race by 10 seconds.

He was one of several runners to perform well at the event and one of three top five finishers from the county.

Just behind Cole in second was Helena junior Brady Barton, who finished with a time of 17:03.70. Barton also finished seventh at the Early Bird Twilight to give him two high finishes this season.

In fifth was Chelsea’s Miles Brush with a time of 17:38.62. While it wasn’t his fastest time, it did mark his highest career finish with the Hornets. It comes just one event after setting his personal record time of 16:44.45 at the Chickasaw Invitational where he finished 22nd in a large field of runners.

Those were the only runners to finish inside the top 10 of the event, but two Spain Park athletes were able to finish in the top 15.

Senior Max Smith was able to claim 13th on the Jaguars’ home course at Veterans Park, while just behind in 15th was sophomore Keith Warner. Smith finished with a time of 18:13.43, while Warner finished with a time of 18:17.08.

In the overall team standings, Spain Park actually went on to finish the highest of any county team as well thanks to consistency. The Jaguars were able to claim third in the event thanks to four total finishers inside the top 30.

The other two finishers to claim one of those top four spots for Spain Park were freshmen Garrett and Kenneth Bishop. The two freshmen finished 26th and 27th in the standings with Garrett posting a time of 18:36.82 and Kenneth posting a time of 18:37.32.

Just behind the Jags in the team standings was Oak Mountain in fourth. The Eagles also saw some consistency with four other runners outside of Cole finishing inside the top 50 and six inside the top 60.

Bryce Caton, a freshman, was able to claim 35th in the race thanks to a time of 19:11.67, while Cameron English and Josh Scherer finished 43rd and 44th, respectively. Joining them inside the top 50 was teammate Luke Black in 46th.

English finished with a time of 19:27. 16, Scherer finished with a time of 19:27.16 and Black finished with a time of 19:39.04. Behind them just outside of the top 50 was Sam Robinson in 51st and Connor Moore in 57th.

Helena and Chelsea finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in the team standings.

Outside of Barton, Caleb Byers, Ednan Jamieson and Gage Pritchard finished 39th-41st consecutively. Byers finished with a time of 19:17.70, Jamieson finished with a time of 19:20.28 and Pritchard finished with a time of 19:20.54.

The Huskies also got a finish of 49th from Reid Hess and 52nd from William Marshall.

Outside of Brush’s strong finish for Chelsea, the Hornets had two more inside the top 60 thanks to a finish of 56th from Joseph McGaha and 58th from Thomas Ludwig.