Oak Mountain XC wins Yellow Jacket Invitational

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

OXFORD – The Oak Mountain cross country team couldn’t have asked for a better start to the 2020 season than the one the Eagles got at the Waffle House Yellow Jacket Invitational hosted by Oxford High School on Saturday, Aug. 29.

Not only did the boys’ team finish in first, but they finished ahead of some of the state’s best teams in Hoover and Hewitt-Trussville, who finished second and third, respectively.

The Eagles narrowly edged out Hoover and the main reason was two top five finishers.

While Hoover had five finish inside the top 15 for 52 points, Oak Mountain had two finish inside the top five and three inside the top six.

Walker Cole, who is coming off a stellar season last year, kicked off the new year with a dominant showing to take home the opening race of 2020.

The senior couldn’t top his personal record of 15:08, but he did run sub-16 in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 15:56.03, which was more than 30 seconds faster than second place.

Just behind him were teammates Hunter Wright, another senior, and junior Reese Bell. Wright finished in fifth with a time of 16:48.73, while Bell finished in sixth with a time of 16:50.97.

Behind those three top 10 finishers, Josh Stidfole and Michael Marvin both finished inside the top 20 as well.

Stidfole finished 19th with a time of 17:33.51, while Marvin finished one spot lower in 20th with a time of 17:38.68.

The Eagles also got another top-30 finish from Noah Arrington, who claimed the 25th spot with a time of 18:00.45.

Kenny Chavez was the lowest finisher for Oak Mountain, but the senior still finished in 31st with a time of 18:29.92, which was impressive in the 143-man field.

The Eagles finished the event with 42 points thanks to the three top six finishers and two others in the top 20.

Oak Mountain’s girls also competed in the event, and while the Eagles didn’t win, they also had a strong showing by finishing fourth in the event.

A big reason were the strong performances of freshman Lauren Cole and senior Emma Grace Phillips. Cole finished in 11th with a time of 21:11.44, while Phillips finished in 17th with a time of 21:32.54.

Katie Wright and Avery Welch finished inside the top 40 for the Eagles with Wright taking 31st thanks to a time of 22:44.13 and Welch claiming 38th with a time of 23:10.13.

Madeline Hubbert finished 44th with a tie of 23:31.16, while Lexi Ray and Mary Spina finished 53rd and 54th, respectively.