Thompson’s Jones wins Shelby County XC event, Helena wins team title

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

ALABASTER – For the second time this year in as many 5,000-meter events, Thompson’s Jace Jones was able to claim the top spot at the 2019 Shelby County Cross Country Championships on Tuesday, Sept. 24.

After setting his personal record of 15:50.93 at the popular Chickasaw Trails Invitational earlier this season, Jones continued a dominant season with another win at the county championship finishing with a time of 16:13.86.

He was one of several athletes to have an impressive showing at the event featuring only teams from Shelby County.

Closing out the top three just behind Jones were two other runners that have victories this season in Oak Mountain’s Walker Cole and Helena’s Brady Barton.

Cole, who finished second in the event with a time of 16:26.53, was coming into the event off a win at the Spain Park Cross Country Classic and has yet to finish lower than fourth in four events this season.

Barton has also had a strong year and entered the county championship having won his most recent race just a few days earlier at the TCBY Invitational. Barton claimed third in this event with a time of 16:58.53.

His high finish for the Huskies, as well as finishes of sixth, ninth, 10th and 11th from Talon Pritchard, Tyler Darden, Gage Pritchard and Caleb Byers, respectively, helped Helena claim the overall team title at the event.

Talon Pritchard ran the race in 17:58.63, Darden ran it in 18:23.63, Gage Pritchard ran it in 18:26.49 and Byers ran it in 18:28.59.

Closing out the top five individual were Chelsea’s Miles Brush in fourth and Briarwood’s Trent Malloy in fifth. For Brush, he finished the event in 17:05.02 to pick up his second top-five finish in a row, while Malloy finished with a time of 17:36.45.

Briarwood and Thompson each added one more top-10 finisher to complete the top 10. Joseph Bell finished in seventh for the Lions with a time of 18:08.31, while Jalyn Lewis finished eighth for the Warriors with a time of 18:22.47.

Briarwood also had two more finishers inside the top 15 with Jay Greene and Matthew Earnest finishing 12th and 14th, respectively. Greene finished the event with a time of 18:53.21, while Earnest posted a time of 18:58.77.

Oak Mountain’s Luke Black, who finished 13th with a time of 18:58.18, and Pelham’s Xavien Harris, who finished 15th with a time of 19:04.81, closed out the top 15.

Briarwood’s Ford Thornton, Chelsea’s Andrew Fielding, Oak Mountain’s Bryce Caton, Helena’s Edan Jamieson and Thompson’s Jackson Hamlin finished 16th-20th, respectively, to complete the top 20.

Thompson finished the race with four others in the top 30 thanks to Jose Villanueva finishing 22nd, Sy Garrett finishing 23rd, Ethan Jones finishing 26th and Varian Carty finishing 30th.

Briarwood ended up with two more in the top 30 behind Luke Thompson’s finish of 28th and Patrick Hnizdil’s finish of 29th.

Helena’s Reid Hess added one more top-30 finisher for the Huskies at 21st, while Pelham’s Dominic Fanella finished 24th and Chelsea’s Thomas Ludwig 25th.

Calera’s highest finisher was Cade Galloway in 27th, who finished with a time of 19:27.74.

In the overall team standings, Briarwood finished second behind Helena thanks to five finishers inside the top 20, while Thompson claimed third. Oak Mountain and Chelsea finished fourth and fifth, respectively, while Chelsea finished sixth, Pelham seventh, Calera eighth and Shelby County ninth.

Photos available at Shelbycountyphotos.com.