Local athletes compete at Spain Park, Challenge of Champions meets
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor
HOOVER – In the second half of the spring sports schedule, local athletes are looking to peak at the right time as they gear up for postseason runs, and several track and field athletes proved they are in midseason form at the Spain Park Classic on Friday, April 2.
With athletes competing from Spain Park, Thompson, Oak Mountain, Calera, Chelsea, Helena, Indian Springs and Westminster at Oak Mountain, there were a total of 11 first place finishes.
Nine of those 11 were from individual athletes, while two came from team relay finishes.
In addition to that, 13 others finishes second or third to grab podium finishes, while two other relay teams finished on the podium as well.
The host Spain Park Jaguars had the most first place finishes at seven with Keon Buck and Mackenzie Culpepper accounting for four of those seven with two apiece.
Buck finished first in both the 100-meter and 200-meter dash with times of 10.83 seconds and 21.61 seconds, respectively.
Culpepper took home first in both the 400-meter and 800-meter run. In the 400, she finished with a time of 57.08 seconds, while then finishing with a time of 2:17.59 in the 800.
Keith Warner took home the top spot in the 3,200-meter run thanks to a time of 9:44.70, while Anna Collins claimed first in pole vaulting after clearing a height of 12 feet.
Spain Park also claimed first in the girls 4X800-meter relay race with a time of 10:16.58.
The only individual podium finisher for the Jaguars included John Landers, who claimed third in the pole vault event after clearing a height of 12 feet, 6 inches.
The only other podium finish for the Jaguars came in the boys 4X100-meter relay race where they finished second in a photo finish against Vestavia Hills.
The Thompson Warriors ended the meet with one first-place finisher, while also adding five other podium finishers.
Blake Ellis had a strong day for the Warriors with one win and a finish of third. He took home first in pole vaulting thanks to clearing a height of 14 feet, while teammate Gavin Horton finished just behind in second with a height of 13 feet, 6 inches.
Ellis also finished third in the javelin throw with a distance of 145 feet, 4 inches.
In addition to Horton’s second-place finish, Parker Mitchell also finished runner-up in the discus finals with a distance of 129 feet 4.5 inches.
Jacob Cofield and Eli Sutton joined Ellis with third place finishes for Thompson as well. Cofield finished the 800-meter run with a time of 2:02.36 to earn a spot on the podium, while Sutton finished third in the triple jump with a distance of 43 feet, 3 inches.
The Oak Mountain Eagles also put together a strong event with one individual winner, one relay team winner and three other podium finishes.
Hunter Wright led the way in the 1,600-meter run by finishing first with a time of 4:26.54 to win the race by four seconds.
The 4X400-meter relay team also claimed the top spot thanks to a time of 3:32.78, which narrowly edged out Vestavia Hills by 0.06 seconds.
Ethan Hammett was Oak Mountain’s only runner to finish second thanks to claiming the spot in the high jump by clearing a height of 6 feet, which missed out on the title by 2 inches.
Jimmy Harris and Alex Mathis both picked up finishes of third with Harris doing so in the 400-meter dash thanks to a time of 50.85 and Mathis doing so in the shot put with a distance of 44 feet, 9 inches.
Chelsea didn’t have any podium finishers at the Spain Park Classic, but did have strong performances at the Challenge of Champions in Mobile.
Cady McPhail finished first in the 1-mile run with a time of 4:59.69, while she also finished third in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:18.77. Miles Brush competed in the boys’ 2-mile run and finished seventh for the Hornets with a time of 9:24.05.
Helena was in a similar situation, but had highlights in both meets.
In the Spain Park Classic, Brooklynn Kirksey and Damian Hines were highlights with Kirksey winning the 200-meter dash thanks to a time of 26.43 and Hines finishing third in the long jump with a distance of 21 feet, 3.75 inches.
In the Challenge of Champions, Brady Barton finished second in the 1-mile run with a time of 4:14.19 and fifth in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:58.71.
Calera also had promising performances in both with Jordon Bray finishing third in the 400-meter dash at the Challenge of Champions. She finished the race in 57.59 seconds, just three seconds out of first.
In the Spain Park Classic, Kobe Prentice put together a strong event with two second-place finishes. The junior finished second in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.08 seconds and second in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.27 seconds.
The boys’ 4X100-meter relay team also finished on the podium after claiming third with a time of 43.43 seconds.
Westminster at Oak mountain’s Hallie Porterfield also traveled to Mobile and had an impressive day. The senior finished third in the 1-mile run with a time of 5:06.89 and sixth in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:24. The Knights’ only competitor in the Spain Park Classic was Reave Metcalf, who finished sixth in the pole vault finals with a height of 9 feet.
Indian Springs was highlighted by Elise Picard’s finish of 13th in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 5:45.48.