Several state champions highlight 6A state track and field meet

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

BIRMINGHAM – Brady Barton, Cady McPhail and Jordon Bray had been three of the top runners in the state this season heading into the AHSAA Class 6A State Track and Field meet on Saturday, Feb. 6.

Competing against the best runners from across the state, the three county athletes didn’t let the spotlight intimidate them. Instead, the shined as bright as they have all season with each picking up at least one first place finish.

Looking to finish off a remarkable season, McPhail made waves by how she competed in the state meet. The Chelsea runner had finished first in all of her indoor events this season aside from one second-place finish in the one-mile run at the Magic City Elite Meet.

But in the state meet, there was no blemish of a second-place finish. She proved she was the best distance runner in the state this year by sweeping the 800-meter, 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter run events, leading to three individual state championships.

She set new personal records in the 800-meter and 3,200-meter runs, finishing the 800 with a time of 2:14.34 and the 3,200 with a tie of 11:05.30. In addition to that, she finished the 1,600 with a time of 5:08.22, which gave the athlete her tightest win of the day by two seconds and helped lead to the sweep.

Barton wasn’t too far behind the pace of McPhail on the boys side of the distance runs. As one of Helena’s top runners for several years, the senior finished off his indoor track days with two state championships, sweeping his two events.

Barton not only won the 800-meter run with a time of 1:56.62, matching his personal record, but he set a new state-meet record in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 9:14.99 to claim two state championships for himself and the Huskies.

In a shortened season, Barton finished in the top three of every race he competed in this season, but hadn’t finished higher than third in the 800-meter run until the championship.

Bray, who is a freshman at Calera, flashed what a bright future she has ahead after claiming a state championship of her own.

With 14 top three finishes heading into the state meet and half of those coming in the 400-meter dash, Bray shined in her specialty event by claiming the state title in the event with a new personal-record time of 57.76 seconds.

In addition to that, she finished third in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:20.54 to grab another podium finish.

Aside from individual winners at the 6A state meet, Helena’s girls 4X200-meter relay team claimed a state championship as well. The group of Huskies narrowly edged out county foe Pelham with a time of 1:48.90 to claim the title.

The Panthers did finish second in the relay race thanks to a time of 1:49.38, which led to a photo finish after Homewood finished in third with a time of 1:49.40.

Calera’s boys also performed well in the 4X200 relay race, finishing second with a time of 1:33.08, which was two seconds behind Jackson-Olin in first place.

There were also two other podium finishers for Helena and Pelham, while two others finished one spot outside in fourth.

Kobe Prentice of Calera and Adia Hasty of Pelham both grabbed second place finishes.

Prentice, a speedy athlete for the Eagles, finished second in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.05 seconds, which was just off the pace of Jarell Stinson’s winning time of 6.94 seconds for Opelika.

Hasty claimed second in the girls shot put finals with a distance of 34 feet, 4 inches, which finished slightly behind the winning distance of 35 feet, 7.25 inches set by Northridge’s Jada Connor.

Brianna Wilson of Helena finished fourth in the same event with a distance of 32 feet, 7 inches.

Chelsea’s Miles Brush also added a finish of fourth in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 9:24, while Pelham claimed fourth in the 4X200-meter boys’ relay race.

Photos available at Shelbycountyphotos.com.