Culpepper highlights 7A State Track Meet, other local athletes finish highly
Published 12:40 pm Sunday, May 8, 2022
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor
GULF SHORES – For the second year in a row, Spain Park’s Mackenzie Culpepper ended the outdoor track and field season as a state champion.
Competing at this year’s Class 7A Outdoor Track and Field State Championship Meet, Culpepper not only brought home one title, but she won two and finished on the podium in a third individual event.
She won both the 400-meter dash and 800-meter run with impressive showings thanks to times of 56.68 seconds and 2:12.21, respectively.
She then also finished second by eight seconds in the 1,600-meter run. She finished with a time of 5:04, while Vestavia Hills’s Crawford West won with a time of 4:56.56.
It marked an impressive two-year stretch for the Spain Park runner, as well as the completion of a redemption path after she finished as a state champion in the 400-meter dash last year but just off the podium in the other two events.
Her highlight was one of several from local 7A teams, as Spain Park’s boys and girls, Thompson’s boys and girls and Oak Mountain’s boys and girls all had podium finishes and multiple top-10 finishes.
Culpepper’s impressive showing was just part of an impressive event for both Spain Park’s girls and boys.
The girls also got a podium finish from the 4X400-meter relay team thanks to a speedy time of 4:00.52, which was good enough for second.
As for the boys, they had two podium finishes and seven total top-10 finishes.
John Landers was the highest individual finisher after he claimed second in the pole vault finals. He cleared 16 feet, which tied for the highest mark just in more attempts than state champion Collin Pate of Hoover.
Keon Buck also finished on the podium in the 100-meter dash. He finished third with a time of 10.88 seconds after finishing second in the prelims with a time of 10.57 seconds.
Beyond those two, Connor Blair, Jaden Nguyen and Jonas Harrelson all added top-10 finishes.
Blair and Nguyen joined Landers in the pole vault finals with Blair finishing eighth after clearing 13 feet, 6 inches and Nguyen clearing 13 feet.
Harrelson’s top-10 finish came in the discus throw where he finished eighth after totaling 135 feet, 7 inches.
As for the team, the 4X100-meter relay team finished fifth with a time of 42.72 seconds and the 4X800-meter relay team finished eighth with a time of 8:20.69.
The Thompson Warriors capped off the season with 12 finishers inside the top 10 at the state track meet, while five of those 12 finishes came on the podium.
Of the podium finishes, Akasha Dudley and Bradley Franklin accounted for four of them.
Dudley finished third in both the discus throw and shot put to highlight the girls. She totaled 106 feet, 4 inches on the discus throw and 38 feet, 8.5 inches in the shot put.
Franklin’s podium finishes came in the 300-meter hurdles and the 110-meter hurdles.
He claimed the highest finish for any Thompson athlete at the event in the 300-meter hurdles thanks to a time of 39.06 seconds earning him second and finishing less than a second off the top spot.
In the 110-meter hurdles, he finished third after crossing the line with a time of 14.72 seconds.
The girls also had an addition podium finisher thanks to Skye Smith in the 300-meter hurdles. She ran the event in 51.40 seconds, which was good enough for third.
Behind her and Dudley, the Warriors got finishes of fourth in the javelin from Whitney Clark and fifth in the 100-meter hurdles from Trinity Williams.
Clark totaled 114 feet, 3 inches in the javelin throw, while Williams finished her race with a time of 15.66 seconds.
The 4X400-meter relay team also finished seventh to claim a top-10 spot after finishing with a time of 4:06.93.
Behind Franklin the boys events, Gavin Horton and Chris Sims both had impressive showings in the pole vault finals.
Horton finished fourth after clearing 15 feet, while Sims finished two spots lower in sixth after clearing 14 feet, 6 inches.
Eli Sutton added a finish of sixth in the triple jump after totaling 44 feet, 6.5 inches, while Parker Mitchell finished seventh in the discus throw thanks to a distance of 139 feet, 6 inches.
Oak Mountain had 15 total finishers inside the top 10, including one podium finish from Walker Hughes.
Hughes finished runner-up in the javelin throw behind a distance of 174 feet, 3 inches. He finished just behind Smiths Station’s Tavin Womack, who won the title with a distance of 176 feet, 6 inches.
Behind him, the boys team got top-five finishes from six other athlees.
Quest Agee, Ethan Hammett and the 4X400-meter relay team all finished fourth in their respective events.
Agee did so in the 400-meter dash thanks to a time of 48.96 seconds and Hammett did so in the high jump after clearing 6 feet, 2 inches. The 4X400-meter relay team finished the event with a time of 3:24.14.
Devon Moss, the 4X800-meter relay team and Mitch Allen all added finishes of fifth.
Moss did so in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.01 seconds, while Allen did so in the triple jump thanks to a distance of 44 feet, 9.75 inches. The relay team was able to claim its top-five finish behind a time of 8:11.49.
Beyond that, Matthew Womack finished sixth in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:58.28, the 4X100-meter relay team finished sixth with a time of 43.06 seconds and Hammett added a second top-10 finish in the long jump with a distance of 21 feet, 9 inches.
The girls were led by the 4X800-meter relay team with a finish of sixth thanks to a time of 9:58.65.
Faith Scardino was the highest individual finisher for the girls after claiming seventh in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 11:46.37.
Beyond her, the 4X400-meter relay team finished 10th with a time of 4:13.70, Julia Bueche finished eighth in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 47.41 seconds and Catarina Williams finished 10th in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:21.64.