Oak Mountain’s Shoemaker, Briarwood’s Parker to represent North at North-South Cross-Country meet

Published 2:17 pm Wednesday, March 6, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

After their phenomenal junior seasons, a pair of the best runners in Shelby County will hit the trails in Montgomery this July against the top runners from around the state.

Oak Mountain’s John Shoemaker and Briarwood Christian’s Mary Grace Parker were selected to the North All-Star Team for the annual North-South All-Star Cross-Country race.

The selections for each come on the heels of stellar finishes at the state championship meet after a season filled with improvement.

After a top-30 finish in the 2022 state championship, Shoemaker picked up right where he left off with a personal record of 16:16.7 in a second-place finish at the season-opening Spain Park Twilight Meet.

That was the first of four personal-record performances for the Oak Mountain standout as he recorded his first sub-16-minute time at the Chickasaw Trails Invitational before topping that time at the Shelby County Championship and Jesse Owens Classic.

He ended the season with five wins at the Shelby County Championship, Oak Mountain Invitational, St. Bernard Oktoberfest, Last Chance Invitational and sectionals. He also finished runner-up at the Class 7A State Championship with a time of 15:11.2.

As for Parker, she quickly beat her personal record from 2022 of 19:06.8 at the Chickasaw Trails Invitational with a fourth-place time of 18:34.4.

She won the FWB Viking XC Classic to start the season with a time of 19:20.0 and claimed a seventh-place finish at the Class 6A sectionals in November.

Parker then finished the season strong with a personal-record performance of 18:10.6 at the Class 6A State Championship, which was good enough for third in the state. That time helped power the Lions to a runner-up finish at the state meet.

The North-South All-Star race features the top rising seniors from around the state across all classifications. 10 runners from the north and south regions of the state were selected to compete in the boys and girls showcase races.

The meet will be held in Montgomery between July 15-19 as part of the AHSAA’s North-South All-Star Week. The exact date and time will be announced at a later date by the athletic association.