Local athletes shine at MLK Track Classic

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

BIRMINGHAM – It was another successful day for local athletes at the Birmingham CrossPlex on Monday, Jan. 18, as several teams competed in the Martin Luther King Indoor Track Classic.

In another strong showing for county athletes, there were nine first place, eight second place and five third place finishers from Shelby County teams.

Highlighting those first place finishers were Thompson’s Jared Hurst and Blake Ellis as well as Chelsea’s Cady MacPhail.

Hurst took home first for the Warriors in the high jump thanks to clearing a height of 6 feet, 4 inches, while Ellis continued to be one of the best pole vaulters in the state with his first-place finish that included clearing a height of 15 feet, 6 inches.

McPhail followed up a record-setting performance at the Ice Breaker Invitational 10 days earlier with two more records. The Chelsea runner finished first in the 3,200-meter run and the 800-meter run setting new personal records in both.

She finished the 800-meter run with a time of 2:23.01 and the 3,200-meter run with a time of 11:22.98, making her one of the state’s best runners in the three distance events (800 meter, 1,600 meter and 3,200 meter).

She was the only runner for the Hornets to finish inside the top three, but Thompson had three others grab a podium finish.

Dominique Hall finished second in the 400-meter dash with a time of 49.71 seconds, while Nick Blackmon finished second in the triple jump with a distance of 41 feet, 11.5 inches. Hall also finished third in the long jump with a distance of 20 feet, 11 inches to cap off a strong event.

The Calera Eagles also had an impressive event thanks to three podium finishers, including a strong performance from Kobe Prentice in the 60-meter dash. Prentice finished the event with a time of 7.15 seconds to claim the top spot for the Eagles.

Beyond that, Calera also got a second-place finish from Brayden Harden in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.75 seconds, while the 4X200-meter relay team finished second behind a time of 1:33.55.

Jordon Bray also had a strong day for the Eagles. She finished third in both the 400-meter dash and 800-meter run with times of 59.16 seconds and 2:26.28, respectively.

Briarwood, Oak Mountain, Shelby County and Spain Park also had at least one athlete claim a first-place finish during the day.

Oak Mountain was led by Grace Knowles in pole vaulting, as she cleared 8 feet, 6 inches to take home first, while teammate Gracie Hollington finished just behind in second with a height of 7 feet, 6 inches cleared.

The Eagles also had three other athletes finish in second. For the girls, Ella Pierce finished second in the 800-meter run behind a time of 2:31.76, while Laruen Cole did so in the 3,200 meter run thanks to a time of 12:22.07.

For the boys, Ethan Hammett finished second in the long jump thanks to a distance of 19 feet, 11 inches.

Lexie Cole added a finish of third for Oak Mountain in the 3,200-meter run behind a time of 12:51.84, while the boys’ 4X200-meter relay team finished third with a time of 1:34.17.

The Shelby County Wildcats were highlighted by David Vick in the high jump. The senior, who set a personal record 10 days earlier in the event, posted another strong first-place showing by clearing a height of 6 feet.

The Briarwood Lions were highlighted by Ansley Murphy in the pole vault event after she cleared 10 feet, 6 inches to finish in first place. Briarwood didn’t have another top-three finisher, but the Lions ended up with another 12 finishers inside the top 10 of their respective event.

Spain Park only had one athlete compete in the event, but that one athlete finished first. Competing in the heat one pole vault, Anna Collins cleared a height of 11 feet to take home first. She cleared one foot more than the next closest competitor.