Area runners earn spots in state championship at 7A, 6A sectionals

Published 1:55 pm Friday, November 3, 2023

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

With spots at the cross-country state championship on the line, the best runners and teams from around the area delivered at the sectional meets on Thursday, Nov. 2 to punch their tickets to Saturday, Nov. 11’s main event.

At the 7A Section 3 meet at Veterans Park in Hoover, the Oak Mountain Eagles boys team qualified for states with a second-place finish. The Eagles scored 77 points, highlighted by John Shoemaker’s race-winning time of 15:47.82 for his fifth meet win of the season.

Other area runners that earned spots at states included Chelsea’s Parker Campbell, who came in third place with a time of 16:05.81, Thompson’s Doster Robinson in ninth place with a time of 16:47.83 and Chelsea’s Hudson Williams in tenth place with a time of 16:49.80.

Chelsea’s Conner Campbell also qualified for states with a time of 17:07.64 in 16th place, and joining him next week will be his teammate Wilbur Valencia Nava, who came in 31st place with a time of 17:31.98 and Spain Park’s Eian Phillips, who finished in 33rd with a time of 17:41.27.

In the girls race, Ty Cason’s first place finish after a run of 19:01.62 powered Chelsea to a second-place finish in the team standings, which qualified the Hornets for states.

Joining Chelsea at states will be four Oak Mountain runners and two from Spain Park. The Jags will be represented by Delaney Vickers, who finished in fourth with a time of 19:33.26, and Remy Richards, who came in 17th place with a time of 20:23.56.

Oak Mountain’s runners at states will be Lauren Cole, who finished in fifth with a time of 19:33.49, Catarina Williams, who came in 12th place with a time of 19:57.31, Ava Fields, who finished in 18th place with a time of 20:30.71, and Brighton Bell, who came in 30th place with a time of 21:07.14.

In the 6A Section 3 meet at Munny Sokol Park in Tuscaloosa, the Pelham Panthers girls team finished in second place to qualify for states, led by Emily Webster in second place with a time of 19:57.02. Janelle Ramos came in fourth with a time of 20:28.71 and Mikayla Leftwich finished in sixth place with a time of 22:04.65.

Webster finished behind Helena’s Ashlynn Beery, whose race-winning time of 19:48.70 helped the Huskies qualify as well with a third-place finish. Teia Briggs also had a strong run, coming in eighth place with a time of 22:45.01.

For the boys, the Helena Huskies came in second with four runners in the top 10, including Drew Cook in fifth with a time of 16:12.34, Aspen Warren in sixth with a time of 16:38.73, Josh Howard in seventh with a time of 17:09.21 and Merrick Blackman in tenth with a time of 17:30.45.

Advancing to states with the Huskies are the Pelham Panthers. Pelham came in third in the team standings, as Robert Lewis’ 14th place finish behind a time of 17:55.28 led the way for his team.

Still in Class 6A but over in Section 4 at Veterans Park in Hoover, both Briarwood’s boys and girls teams came in third place to secure spots at the state championship.

Whit Thornton was Briarwood’s top runner in the boys race with a time of 17:12.44 and a seventh place finish, and in the girls race, Bela Doss came in fifth place with a time of 19:55.91 and Mary Grace Parker finished in seventh place with a time of 19:58.49.

All of the qualifying teams and runners will run in the state championship at Oakville Indian Mounds Park in Oakville on Saturday, Nov. 11.