Oak Mountain’s Cothran, Pelham’s Howard finish in top four at heptathlon state championship

Published 4:00 pm Friday, May 17, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

HOOVER – Some of the most versatile athletes in Shelby County put their skills to the test at the AHSAA Decathlon and Heptathlon State Championships at Hoover High School on May 15-16.

In the end, a pair of area athletes finished in the top five of the heptathlon as Oak Mountain’s Sara Cothran finished in second place and Pelham’s Emma Grace Howard came in fourth place.

Athletes earned points in the final standings of the heptathlon based on their performances in the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-meter dash, long jump, javelin throw and 800-meter run.

Cothran finished with 4062 points, which was behind only St. Paul’s Episcopal’s Janie Ford’s new state record of 5257 points, and Howard earned 3,928 points across the seven events.

Cothran and Howard each had big performances in the individual events that propelled them to their top-four finishes.

In the javelin throw, Cothran won with a mark of 37.60 meters or 123 feet, 4 inches, a new Oak Mountain school record.

Pelham’s Claire Robinson earned seventh place with a mark of 26.73 meters, Briarwood’s Blakely Margene came in 12th with a mark of 24.71 meters and Howard finished 15th with a mark of 21.57 meters.

Cothran placed second in the 800-meter run, the final event of the heptathlon, with a time of 2:24.61. Howard finished in seventh with a time of 2:33.53, Pelham’s Anna McDonald came in 10th with a time of 2:36.54 and Oak Mountain’s Riley Leckemby finished in 19th with a time of 2:47.78.

Howard tied with two other competitors for third place in the high jump with a mark of 1.59 meters.

Cothran came in third place in the long jump with a mark of 5.08 meters. Howard was just behind her in fourth place with a mark of 5.06 meters, and Oak Mountain’s Samiah Jones took sixth place with a mark of 4.97 meters.

In the 200-meter dash, Cothran finished in fourth with a time of 26.48 seconds and Howard came in 20th with a time of 28.25 seconds.

Howard took ninth place in the shot put with a mark of 8.15 meters. Margene came in 14th place with a mark of 7.84 meters, Robinson finished in 15th with a mark of 7.51 meters and Cothran came in 18th place with a mark of 7.15 seconds.

Howard came in 10th place in the 100-meter hurdles after finishing the race in 16.61 seconds and Cothran earned 18th place with a time of 17.44 seconds.