McPhail, Franklin win two titles each, others win at Class 7A state meet
Published 11:34 am Monday, May 8, 2023
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor
GULF SHORES – It was a special few days at the Class 7A State Track and Field Meet in Gulf Shores May 4-6 for several local athletes with seven state champions emerging by the end of the event.
The Chelsea Hornets, Thompson Warriors and Oak Mountain Eagles all accounted for at least one state championship, while the Spain Park Jaguars also had several standout performances at this year’s meet.
Chelsea’s Cady McPhail and Lily Rigor, Thompson’s Bradley Franklin, and Oak Mountain’s Devan Moss all won individual state championships, while the Chelsea girls also picked up a relay state championship.
No local team, however, finished higher than the Chelsea girls at this year’s Class 7A state meet, as the Hornets took home second in the overall team standings.
McPhail, one of the country’s top runners, was a big reason for that success. The senior won the state championship in the 800-meter run and 1,600-meter run to cap off special career, while she then finished fourth in the 3,200-meter run.
She won the 800-meter event with a time of 2:10.14, which was a little more than a second ahead of second place, while she won the 1,600-meter run with a time of 4:52.14. Her finish of fourth in the 3,200-meter race came with a time of 11:06.41.
Ty Cason finished behind McPhail in all three events for the Hornets, while Mia Dunavant also performed well. Cason finished sixth in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:14.54, fifth in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 5:06.08 and ninth in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 11:31.72. Dunavant claimed seventh in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 5:11.30.
Rigor joined McPhail as an individual state champion, putting together a special day.
She finished first in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 44.79 seconds, finishing more than two seconds ahead of second place, while she added a finish of fourth for the Hornets in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.43 seconds.
Team wise, the Hornets won a relay state championship in the 4X800 meter race with a time of 9:24.15, finishing five seconds ahead of second, while the 4X400 meter relay team finished fifth with a time of 4:05.67.
Jadlyn Debardlabon and Alana McCulla both finished second individually for Chelsea as well. Debardlabon did so in the long jump with a distance of 18 feet, 1.5 inches, while McCulla did so in the pole vault by clearing 11 feet, which was three inches shy of the championship mark.
For the boys, Parker Campbell finished fourth in the 3,200-meter run thanks to a time of 9:32.38, while Gabe Pendley added another top-five finish with a distance of 168 feet, 9 inches in the javelin throw.
Jackson Laughlin and Brandon Sims both added top-10 finishes in their respective events as well.
As for the Thompson Warriors, Franklin was the highlight. Like McPhail, the junior won two individual state championships.
He won the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 13.92 seconds, while he also won the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 37.70 seconds to walk away with two titles at this year’s state meet.
Gavin Horton was also a highlight for the Warriors, as the senior pole vaulter finished second in the event after clearing 15 feet, 6 inches.
As for Thompson’s girls, they had several highlights with multiple finishers inside the top five.
Akasha Dudley and Whitney Clark were two of those highlights with both picking up a second and fourth place finish.
Dudley finished second in the shot put with a distance of 40 feet, 2.25 inches and fourth in the discus throw with a total distance of 116 feet, 9 inches.
As for Clark, she finished second in the javelin throw with a total distance of 126 feet, 3 inches, while she finished just behind Dudley in the shot put with a distance of 35 feet, 10.25 inches to claim fourth.
Trinity Williams claimed second in the 100-meter hurdles after finishing the event in 15.05 seconds.
Gracie Baldwin also had a top-five finish for the Warriors, finishing in fourth in the long jump after totaling a distance of 17 feet, 8.5 inches.
Oak Mountain was led by Devan Moss, who took home first in the 100-meter dash. Moss finished the event with a time of 10.65, which edged out second by 0.10 seconds.
John Shoemaker finished inside the top five for the Eagles in the 3,200-meter run by finishing fifth with a time of 9:35.89, while Julia Bueche added a finish of fourth in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 47.75 seconds.
Tre Thomas also finished just outside the top five, taking sixth in the long jump with a distance of 6 feet, 2 inches.
Zachary Erickson was the highest finisher for the Spain Park Jaguars at this year’s state meet. The sophomore claimed fifth in the discus throw, totaling a distance of 145 feet, 4 inches in the finals.
Keith Warner added finishes of sixth and eighth for the Jags, claiming sixth in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 9:36.34 and eighth in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 4:19.46.
The boys 4X400 meter and 4X800 meter relay teams both finished sixth with the 4X400 team finishing with a time of 3:26.03 and the 4X800 team finishing with a time of 8:00.40.
For the girls, Delaney Vickers was the highest individual finisher with a finish of ninth in the 800-meter run behind a time of 2:17.79, while the girls 4X800 meter relay team finished in seventh.