Local 6A teams dominate at XC sectionals, several qualify for state
Published 6:40 pm Monday, November 1, 2021
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor
Making it to the Class 6A State Cross Country Championship out of sections 3 and 4 is a special accomplishment, and several teams reached that milestone on Thursday, Oct. 28.
Of the two sections, however, only two local teams from Shelby County walked away victorious—the Chelsea boys and Helena boys.
A team that has taken the state by storm this year, the Hornets topped powerhouse schools such as Mountain Brook and Homewood in second and third, while they also edged out fourth-place Briarwood.
With the win, Chelsea finished inside the necessary top four to qualify its entire team for the state meet on Saturday, Nov. 6.
The main reason for the success, which saw the Hornets finish with 40 points compared to Mountain Brook’s 44 points, was six finishers inside the top 20.
And the highlight remained Miles Brush, the defending Class 6A state champion.
Brush won his fifth consecutive event and did so by more than 30 seconds with a time of 16:23.42.
Joining him inside the top three was Elijah Williams, who has also become one of the state’s best runners. Williams took third with a time of 17:06.73.
Thomas Ludwig made sure the Hornets had one more in the top 10 thanks to his finish of eight behind a time of 17:40.22.
Andrew Fielding, Tucker Brown and Camden Thomas also finished inside the top 20 of the Section 4 race for Chelsea. Fielding finished 12th with a time of 17:53.02, Brown finished 16th with a time of 18:19.44 and Thomas finished 19th with a time of 18:29.51.
Luke Price (23rd), Hudson Williams (27th) and Alex Davis (30th) also cracked the top 30.
In addition to Chelsea sending its entire boys team, the Briarwood Lions did the same by finishing fourth, while Pelham just missed out with a finish of fifth.
Briarwood was led by Brandon Dixon in 11th with a time of 17:51.06, while Luke Thompson and Ford Thornton finished 20th and 21st, respectively. Thompson finished with a time of 18:38.10, while Thornton finished with a time of 18:38.10.
Noah Williams added one more in the top 30 for the Lions with his finish of 29th behind a time of 19:12.38.
Despite missing out on qualifying its entire team, the Pelham Panthers will be sending Michael Kuper, Nathan Thau, Evans Kahara, Carter Milling and Robert Lewis.
Those were five of the top six individual finishers outside automatic qualifiers, earning them a spot at state.
Kuper was the highest finisher for the Panthers with a time of 19:47.90, which was good enough for 33rd. Thau finished shortly behind in 40th, while Kahara, Milling and Lewis finished 43rd-45th.
In the Class 6A, Section 4 girls race, Chelsea girls also finished inside the necessary top four to send the entire team to state alongside the boys, while Briarwood’s girls did the same.
The Lions were the higher of the two teams this time around in third, while Chelsea finished fourth in the team standings.
The highest finisher, however, went to the Hornets with Cady McPhail finishing third thanks to a time of 19:55.77. That just edged out Briarwood’s Mary Grace Parker in fourth by two seconds.
Both teams also got one more top-20 finisher.
Briarwood’s Bela Doss finished 13th with a time of 21:28.15, while Ty Cason finished 20th with a time of 22:27.78 for the Hornets.
The Lions also got top-25 finishes from Luci Williams and Lena Anne Parker. Williams finished 23rd with a time of 22:48.46, while Parker finished 25th with a time of 23:01.10.
Chelsea also had one more inside the top 25 thanks to Juliette Edwards in 24th with a time of 22:50.73.
The Pelham girls just missed out on sending the entire team yet again with a finish of fifth, but the Panthers will send four runners to state.
Lacy Lambert, Emily Wester, Nathalie Gonzalez-Esquivel and Anna Bravo all earned that honor after finishing inside the top 30.
Lambert was the highest finisher in 22nd with a time of 22:41.80, while Wester finished 26th thanks to a time of 23:27.32.
Gonzalez-Esquivel and Brave finished 29th and 30th, respectively, with times of 23:55.25 and 24:02.77.
Class 6A, Section 3 is where the Helena Huskies left their mark, along with the Calera boys and three runners from Calera’s girls team.
Helena’s boys and girls both qualified for state with finishes inside the top four, but it was the boys who took home a team win at the section championship.
The Huskies had six finish inside the top 10 of the boys race, which helped them pull off a dominant victory.
Aspen Warren, Caden Blackman and Larkin Watters all finished inside the top five with Warren taking second, Blackman third and Watters fifth.
Warren ran the race in less than 17 minutes with a time of 16:56.15, while Blackman finished with a time of 17:13.02 and Watters with a time of 17:48.86.
Behind that, Drew Cook finished sixth, Braden Burch took seventh and Gage Pritchard claimed 10th.
Cook and Burch both finished the race in less than 18 minutes with times of 17:50.11 and 17:52.49, respectively, while Pritchard finished with a time of 18:25.78.
Barrett Draiss also finished inside the top 15, claiming 13th behind a time of 18:31.88.
For Calera’s boys, it was a fourth-place finish in the team standings that qualified the entire team for state.
The Eagles were led by Michael Jones in 11th with a time of 18:28.11, while Lane Busby also finished inside the top 20 in 19th behind a time of 19:17.80.
Ethan Gray finished inside the top 30 in 26th thanks to a time of 19:51.17, while Cooper Manning finished shortly behind in 34th with a time of 20:38.25.
In the girls race, Helena finished second as a team to qualify for state with Mallory Barton and Ashlynn Beery leading the way in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Barton finished the race in 21:10.05, while Beery was just 24 seconds behind.
Madison Tsimpides and Lindsey May closed out the top 10 with finishes of ninth and 10th. Tsimpides finished the event with a time of 22:31.33, while May finished 10 seconds behind her teammate.
Mary Kathryn Bender, Mallory Hamilton, Charis Gray, Olivia Timmons and Abigail Cory all finished inside the top 20 as well.
Calera was led by Isabella Jones, Laiken Hammond and Madison Honeycutt.
Each finished high enough to individually qualify for the state meet with Jones leading the way in 25th, Hammond finishing just behind in 27th and Honeycutt claiming 31st.