Chelsea, Thompson combined for 7 champions at Class 7A state meet

Published 12:33 pm Sunday, February 5, 2023

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

BIRMINGHAM – It was a special end to the 2023 indoor track and field season for several local Class 7A athletes on Saturday, Feb. 4 at the AHSAA Class 7A Indoor State Track Championship held at the Birmingham CrossPlex.

Not only did Chelsea, Oak Mountain, Spain Park and Thompson all have success at this year’s event, but the Hornets and Warriors both accounted for at least three individual champions.

It was Chelsea’s girls, however, in their first year in Class 7A that shined the brightest.

The Hornets finished second overall in the team standings at this year’s meet, just behind Hoover, and a large reason for that success was none other than Cady McPhail.

The senior, who has set top distance marks in the country this year, continued a dominant indoor season by completing the trifecta at this year’s state meet with wins in the 800-meter run, 1,600-meter run and 3,200-meter run.

Not only did she win all three of those events, but she added a fourth state championship as a member of the 4X800-meter relay team.

In addition to the wins, she also won two of her events with new state meet records.

While she didn’t top her on CrossPlex record, she won the 800-meter run with a state meet record time of 2:11.63, while she won the 1,600-meter run with a record time of 4:57.68. Both were close to a second faster than the previous state meet records.

She then completed the sweep by finishing the 3,200-meter run in a very tight battle with Huntsville’s Ava McIntosh. McPhail finished with a time of 10:56.86, while McIntosh was 0.12 seconds behind in second with a time of 10:56.98.

In addition to McPhail’s success, Chelsea had other impressive finishes as well.

Mia Dunavant joined her teammate on the podium in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:16.94 to finish third, while she also finished fifth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 59.07 seconds.

Ty Cason also joined McPhail on the podium in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 5:00.84 to claim third.

They also joined forces to win the 4X800-meter relay with a time of 9:31.80, which was nine seconds clear of the field. Dunavant, Cason and McPhail were joined by Tyndal Ann Griffith in the win.

The 4X400-meter relay team also finished on the podium. Featuring Dunavant, Griffith, Cason and Lily Rigor, the team finished second with a time of 4:05.09.

Rigor also finished seventh in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 9.57 seconds.

Alana McCulla and Jadlyn Debardlabon added two more podium finishes for the Hornets with McCulla finishing second in pole vault after clearing 10 feet, 6 inches and Debardlabon claiming third in the long jump with a distance of 17 feet, 3.75 inches.

Chelsea’s girls finished second overall with 81 points in their first year competing in Class 7A, which was 30.5 points behind Hoover for first and 18 clear of Hewitt-Trussville for second.

The Thompson Warriors also saw their share of success with three state champions at this year’s meet with Bradley Franklin, Gavin Horton and Akasha Dudley all claiming titles.

Franklin’s success started in the 60-meter hurdles where he put together a dominant effort. Behind a speedy performance of eight seconds, he beat out second place by 0.28 seconds to win the title.

He also finished on the podium in the long jump after totaling 22 feet, 1.75 inches to claim third in the event. Teammate Korbyn Williams finished just behind that mark in fourth with a distance of 21 feet, 11.75 inches.

Horton’s championship win came in the pole vault event after he cleared 15 feet, 6 inches, which edged out Hoover’s Collin Pate and Connor White. Teammate Greyson Horton also had an impressive top-10 showing by finishing seventh in the event.

As for Dudley, she finished off a special indoor season by winning the shot put. Dudley put together a distance of 37 feet, 8 inches, which beat out second place by 7 inches. Teammate Whitney Clark finished eighth in the event with a distance of 33 feet, 0.5 inches.

Thompson’s final podium finisher was Trinity Williams, who like Franklin on the boys’ side, saw success in the girls’ 60-meter hurdles. She finished the event in 9.12 seconds to claim second.

Beyond that, the boy’s 4X200-meter relay team featuring Curtis Hill, Kayden Washington, Tyler Johnson and Franklin finished fourth with a time of 1:31.52.

The Spain Park Jaguars and Oak Mountain Eagles also had their share of highlights at this year’s state meet. 

For the Jaguars, Keith Warner was the highest individual finisher after claiming fourth in the 1,600-meter run, while Delaney Vickers added a finish of fifth in the 800-meter run.

Vickers also finished eighth in the 1,600-meter run, while Sydney Baker did the same in the 400-meter dash.

The girls’ 4X400-meter relay team featuring Vickers, Baker, Rmy Richards and Chloe Finocchiaro finished fifth, while the 4X800-meter relay team featuring Vickers, Finocchiaro, Richards and Mackenzie Colbaugh did the same. 

The boys’ 4X800-meter relay team featuring Warner, Garrett Bishop, Kenneth Bishop and Zane McPeters also had success by finishing sixth.

As for the Eagles, Walter Shook was the highest individual finisher after taking home sixth in the high jump with a height of 6 feet, 2 inches.

Matthew Womack added a finish of seventh in the boys’ 800-meter run with a time of 1:58.96, while Catarina Williams finished ninth in the girls’ 800-meter run with a time of 2:23.02.

Devan Moss also finished inside the top 10 in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.13 seconds.

The girls’ 4X400-meter relay team featuring Lauren Cole, Taylor McMillan, Sara Cothran and Williams finished seventh with a time of 4:14.79, while the 4X800-meter team featuring Selah Whitley, Williams, Cothran and Cole did the same with a time of 10:09.38.

The final highlight was the boys’ 4X800-meter team featuring Bennett Phillips, Cooper Jeffcoat, John Shoemaker and Womack, who finished fifth with a time of 8:14.98.