Pelham girls finish runner-up, other 6A athletes shine at state

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

BIRMINGHAM – The Pelham girls never were higher than fourth in the Class 6A Indoor State Track and Field Championships heading into one of the final events, but the 4X400-meter relay team changed that with a drastic win.

Competing against some of the best teams in the state at the Birmingham CrossPlex Feb. 7-8, the Panthers had a strong two days, but it looked as if they would come up short of a podium finish.

The 4×400-meter team trailed going into the final leg of the race, which made the chances of a podium finish even less, but then they turned on the jets and came back to win the event with a time of 4:13.39 in a determined effort.

With that strong finish, the Panthers not only moved onto the podium as a team, but moved all the way up to second in the standings to claim a runner-up finish with 51 points, which tied with Northridge and edged out St. Paul’s Episcopal by one point.

That was just part of a strong meet for Pelham’s boys and girls, while Helena, Calera and Chelsea also put together several individual podium finishers.

Outside of that win for the relay team, Pelham’s girls were led by Erin Long and Adia Hasty.

Long finished second in the triple jump with a distance of 36 feet, 2 inches and third in the long jump with a distance of 16 feet, 10.75 inches. She also finished fourth in a tightly contested 60-meter hurdles event with a time of 9.60 seconds.

Hasty’s podium finish came in the shot put, as she claimed third with a distance of 33 feet, 3.25 inches.

For Pelham’s boys, Dominic Fanella was the individual highlight with a finish of third in the 800-meter run thanks to a time of 2:00.40, while the 4X800-meter relay team claimed second with a time of 8:26.02.

Helena and Calera also had five strong finishes each at the event.

The Huskies were led by T.J. Funches, who claimed a state championship in the boys high jump with a height of 6 feet, 6 inches, while teammate Bowman Downey finished on the podium in third with a height of 6 feet, 2 inches.

Brady Barton also performed well finishing third in both the 1,600-meter run and 3,200-meter run, as well as fourth in the 800-meter run. He finished the 1,600-meter race in 4:28.93, the 3,200-meter race in 9:51.05 and the 800-meter race in 2:01.42.

For the girls, the 4X200-meter relay team claimed a state championship by finishing with a time of 1:48.08, while Allison Tanner claimed a finish of second in the high jump with a height of 5 feet, 4 inches. She ended the event with three top five finishes.

Calera was led by Nia Maye, who had two finishes of second. She claimed the strong finishes in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.89 seconds and the 400-meter dash with a time of 58.72, just missing out on winning.

Teammate Jordon Braye also fared well in the 400-meter dash finishing third with a time of 59.05, while also finishing second in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:22.07.

 Brayden Harden claimed Calera’s only state championship when he won the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.76 seconds, which edged out second place by 0.02 seconds.

Kobe Prentice added a finish of third for the boys in the 60-meter dash behind a time of 7.07 seconds, while the 4X200-meter relay team finished second with a time of 1:31.53.

Chelsea’s time at the state meet was highlighted by Teanna Cason and Miles Brush.

Cason finished third on the podium in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 11:30.09, while she also finished fourth in the 1,600-meter run. Brush finished fourth in both the 1,600-meter run and the 3,200-meter run.