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Alabama State Meet


Saturday November 11, 2006 Oakville AL

By Arthur L. Mack

Host Lawrence County settles for second in 3A-4A boys and girls to Randolph and Montgomery Academy respectively, while Shades Mountain Christian has narrow win over Cold Springs in 1A-2A boys and Cold Springs girls foil Bayside Academy's bid for second straight girls' 1A-2A title.

Mother Nature provided a big surprise for competitors in the Alabama High School Athletic Association Cross Country Championships held at the Oakville Indian Mounds Park.
In a matter of minutes, it seemed, early morning moderate temperatures gave way to cold, overcast and blustery conditions, creating challenges for athletes and coaches alike.  But as the dedicated and disciplined souls they are, the nearly 1,000 athletes pressed on, providing memorable performances.   

recap by division: 6A - 5A - 4/3A - 2/1A 


    By far, the most exciting part of the meet was in the 6A boys division, where the top three teams were within five points of each other.
    But Mountain Brook came out on top, thanks to a strong race by sophomore Bill Matthews in 15:48.18. Although Matthews was the only Spartan in the top 15, his teammates finished well enough to edge Smiths Station 83-84.
    Oak Mountain was third with 88 while defending champion Hoover was fourth with 100, despite placing Patrick McGregor second (15:55.48) and Tim Landry third (15:57.75).
    "I was expecting it to be 55 or 60 degrees with little wind," said Matthews. "I was hoping to get a fast time, but when I woke up this morning, I said there's no way that's happening."
    But Matthews managed to run a 4:55 for the first mile, biding his time with the front pack, and waiting until the right time to make his move around mile three.
    "I knew there were going to be some stupid things happening with the cold conditions, so my coach said me to be smart, wait till the time comes to break from the pack and go for it. All and all, I'm really happy about how our team did, and how my race went also. "  
    "We've been talking over the last month about getting better and better," said Mountain Brook coach Greg Echols. "We're so young, I would have picked us fourth or fifth going in, and on a great day getting third. Bill's been hurt the whole year, so he was just really trying to run the race and just trying to stay as long as he could and push to get the win.
    "In sectionals, he laid back with the rest of our team and pushed them to where they ran a great race and their confidence exploded to where they were running 20 seconds faster than they did the week before. They came in here today, and instead of backing down, they came ready to compete."
    Mountain Brook had an easier time in the 6A girls, easily defeating Hoover 30-90 to win its fourth straight 6A girls title, while Huntsville was third with 117. The Lady Spartans placed all seven of their runners in the top 25, with Madeline Morgan's 18:20.18 placing third overall.
    Mountain Brook's team average of 19:01.67 was an unofficial course record.
    "The depth made them so special," said Echols. "Our girls just got into a pack early and kept hammering. The hardest thing for them now is expectations, because once you've won three or four in a row, the fun goes out of it and it's like, 'What if we don't win?.' So, we had to fo some readjustments."  
    A big upset in the 6A girls race came when Sparkman freshman Katie Huston defeated favored Jennifer Dunn of Decatur Austin.
    In October, Dunn defeated Huston in the Jesse Owens Classic. This time, though, Huston returned the favor, battling side by side with Dunn for most of the race before pulling away and winning in 18:06.96.
    "I've been working for it pretty hard," said Huston of the win. "I've just been putting in miles just to stay in shape. The weather was cold, and my fingers got kind of numb, but I'd rather be cold than burning hot. My dad had my shoes waterproofed, so my feet didn't get wet."

    BOYS: Mountain Brook 83, Smiths Station 84, Oak Mountain 88, Hoover 100, Auburn 104, Bob Jones 184, Grissom 226, Vestavia Hills 227, Hewitt-Trussville 239, Homewood 245, McGill-Toolen 257, Murphy 346, Daphne 354, Opelika 430, Florence 433, Fairhope 467, Baker 500, Foley 549.
    1. Bill Matthews, Mt. Brook, 15:48.18; 2. Patrick McGregor, Hoover, 15:55.48; 3. Tim Landry, Hoover, 15:57.75; 4. Patrick Gomez, Auburn, 16:00.20; 5. Howard Graves, Auburn, 16:12.73; 6. James Adair, Oak Mountain, 16:13.97; 7. Phillip Johnson, Homewood, 16:18.96; 8. Ross Laporte, Oak Mountain, 16:21.95; 9. Austin Duckworth, Vestavia Hills, 16:22.62; 10.Chris Bilbrew, Smiths Station, 16:24.31; 11. John Moulton, Smiths Station, 16:25.68; 12. Damien Lee, Murphy, 16:28.16; 13. Shane Brogdan, Oak Mountain, 16:28.16; 14. Riley Spahn, Shades Valley , 16:30.07; 15. Jonathan Fischer, Smiths Station, 16:31.95.

    GIRLS: Mountain Brook 30, Hoover 90, Huntsville 117, Bob Jones 131, Oak Mountain 157, Auburn 163, Smiths Station 279, Vestavia Hills 279, McGill-Toolen 282, Fairhope 287, Opelika 294, Hewitt-Trusville 308, Murphy 338, Grissom 345, Homewood 347, Daphne 395, Baker 523.
    1. Katie Huston, Sparkman, 18:06.96; 2. Jennifer Dunn, Austin, 18:14.61; 3. Madeline Morgan, Mountain Brook, 18:20.18; 4. Nicole Muldowney, Hoover, 18:47.61; 5. Leslie Boozer, Mountain Brook, 18:52.29; 6. Catherine Diethelm, Mountain Brook, 19:01.79; 7. Kimberly Muldowney, Hoover, 19:03.21; 8. Lauren D'Alessio, Pelham, 19:06.33; 9. Gwen Kyser, Huntsville, 19:09.16; 10. Adrianna Poole, Sparkman, 19:12.17; 11. Amanda Smith, Auburn, 19:13.11; 12. Brigid Carey, Mountain Brook, 19:14.94; 13. Khadiji Clay, Huntsville, 19:16.99; 14. Laura Jones, Bob Jones, 19:19.26; 15. Katie Jorgensen, Fairhope, 19:24.07.


    If anybody thought that St. Paul's victory in the 5A boys' division last year was a fluke, they were sadly mistaken as the Saints belted Cullman 40-73 to win their second straight crown.
    Although Scottsboro's Cody Hood overtook St. Paul's Lee Gilmer to win individual honors with a time of 16:09.14 to 16:16.72, Gilmer managed to hold off Cullman's Dallas Malone (16:17.49).
    Four of Gilmer's teammates---Lott Brigham, Patrick Platzer, Lee's twin brother John and eighth-grader Stuart Graham---finished in the top 15 to secure the win.
    "I could not have not been any prouder of the kids' efforts," said St. Paul's coach Jim Tate. "This was a group of seniors that were leaders and have been in our program for six years. Lee has a history of running hard races and getting edged out at the end. But he never gives up, and he's certainly our leading boys' runner, and he's been our leading runner all year."
    On the girls side, Scottsboro won handily, defeating St. Paul's 27-66. Great pack running by the Lady Wildcats secured the win as Scottsboro's Lacey Wright won the race, holding off St. Paul's Mary Carleton Johnston 18:38.58 to 18:42.45.
    Emily Thompson and Hannah Thompson were third and fourth for Scottsboro with times of 18:55.30 and 19:10.55 respectively, and Haley Hancock's eighth-place finish (19:35.06) and an 11th place finish by Amber Smith (19:44.95) sealed the win.  
    "We were trying to stay together as a team and work hard and pull each other," said Wright. "They (rest of the runners) pulled together and helped the front pack. That helped the team out a lot. Our coach (John Eslinger) told us before the race to try and tuck in, and not let anybody else in, and use your energy."

    BOYS: St. Paul's 40, Cullman 73, Scottsboro 74, Briarwood 103, Spanish Fort 103, UMS-Wright 108, John Carroll 161, Decatur 275, Mortimer Jordan 290, Arab 299, Benjamin Russell 338. Gardendale 343, Albertville 392, Muscle Shoals 397.
    1. Cody Hood, Scottsboro, 16:09.14; 2. Lee Gilmer, St. Paul's, 16:16.72; 3. Dallas Malone, Cullman, 16:17.49;4. John Robert Taylor, UMS-Wright, 16:23.84; 5. Camden Holmes, Cullman, 16:48.47; 6. Lott Brigham, St. Paul's, 16:56.14; 7. Patrick Platzer, St. Paul's, 16:57.96; 8. Nick Burrell, John Carroll, 16:59.68; 9. Ben Gomez, Cullman, 17:01.27; 10. John Redman, Spanish Fort, 17:04.28; 11. Ryan Volk, Spanish Fort, 17:06.68; 12. John Gilmer, St. Paul's, 17:08.04; 13. Stuart Graham, St. Paul's, 17:08.35; 14. Tyler Till, Briarwood, 17:09.29; 15. Travis Delay, Scottsboro, 17:10.57.  
    GIRLS: 1. Lacey Wright, Scottsboro, 18:38.58; 2. Mary Carleton Johnston, St. Paul's, 18:42.45; 3. Emily Thompson, Scottsboro, 18:55.30; 4. Hannah Thompson, Scottsboro, 19:10.55; 5. Emily Collins, St. Paul's, 19:17.20; 6. Sarah Gilmore, UMS-Wright, 19:18.59; 7, Sally Adams, Decatur, 19:31.72; 8. Haley Hancock, Scottsboro, 19:35.06; 9. Charlotte Galloway, UMS-Wright, 19:37.03; 10. Anna Jarman, Spanish Fort, 19:41.68; 11. Amber Smith, Scottsboro, 19:44.95; 12. Mary Elaine Williamson, Decatur, 19:48.00; 13. Meg Adams, Decatur, 19:54.71; 14. Lauren Williams, Scottsboro, 19:58.20; 15. Rachael Ceballos, Fort Payne, 20:00.96.


    Randolph High's boys placed four runners in the top 15 as they defeated the host team, Lawrence County, 58-73. Altamont, which moved up from 1A-2A, was third with 117 points.
    Jacksonville's Ian Nelson won the boys' race with a time of 16:30.99, but Randolph freshman Matthew Akenhead was sixth in 17:12.65, and got great support from fellow freshman Keith Buell (eighth, 17:23.81); Chase Ludwig (13th, 17:38.50);  David Romer (15th, 17:41.69) and Patrick Wingo (16th, 17:43.15) to secure the win.
    Altamont's Elisabeth Molen continued her tradition of running big-time races in big-time meets with a resounding win over Montgomery Academy's Maggie Rickard (18:12.01 to 19:19.44), but it was Montgomery Academy who got the last laugh, winning 32-66 over Lawrence County in the 3A-4A girls division.
    Rickard's second place finish led a 2-4-6-7-13 finish for the Lady Eagles. The Wool sisters, Sarah and Jenny, ran 19:58.62 and 20:15.01 respectively, Katie Bell ran 20:40.11 to score seventh; and Lily McLemore ran 21:21.75 to score 13th to get the win.

    BOYS: Randolph 58, Lawrence County 73, Altamont 117, Rogers 140, Brooks 143, Beauregard 145, Montgomery Academy 162, Lamp-Loveless 208, D.A.R. 223, Jacksonville 226, Central-Florence 254, Madison County 335.
    1. Ian Nelson, Jacksonville, 16:30.99; 2. WInston Joe, Altamont, 16:56.22; 3. Matthew Perrella, Beauregard, 16:56.86; 4. Logan Underwood, 17:09.50; 5. Jake Jacobs, Montgomery Academy, 17:12.10; 6. Matthew Akenhead, Randolph, 17:12.65; 7. Wes Bevis, Rogers, 17:23.81; 8. Keith Buell, Randolph, 17:23.81; 9. Vince Jovene, Lamp-Loveless, 17:28.65; 10. Kasey Butler, Rogers, 17:29.74; 11. R. J. Howard, Rogers, 17:30.39; 12. Trevor Larson, Lawrence County, 17:31.29; 13. Chase Ludwig, Randolph, 17:31. 29; 14. Jarrod Horne, Beauregard, 17:40.72; 15. David Romer, Randolph, 17:41.69.     

GIRLS: Montgomery Academy 32, Lawrence County 66, Rogers 87, Altamont 116, Randolph 125, Lamp-Loveless 150, Catholic-Montgomery 203, Fairview 206, Brooks 245, Haleyville 257, Madison County 289.
    1. Elisabeth Molen, Altamont, 18:12.01; 2. Maggie Rickard, Montgomery Academy, 19:19.44; 3. Ari Stephenson, Lawrence County, 19:26.62; 4. Sarah Wool, Montgomery Academy, 19:58.62; 5. Mindy Rogers, Randolph, 20:04.87; 6. Jenny Wool, Montgomery Academy, 20:15.01; 7. Kristy Tippy, Central-Tuscaloosa, 20:18.87; 8. Katie Bell, Montgomery Academy, 20:40.11; 9. Lyndsie Warren, Lawrence County, 20:50.66; 10. Crystal Higdon, T.R. Miller, 20:52.80; 11. Katherine Murray, Altamont, 20:56.24; 12. Kaley Glover, Beauregard, 20:57.75; 13. Taylor Matthews, Rogers, 20:59.65; 14. Alexandra Gilbert, Catholic-Montgomery, 21:02.80; 15. Chalyce Stancil, Fairview, 21:10.41.  


    Shades Mountain Christian's boys, led by senior Ben Smolin, had just enough to hold off a upstart Cold Springs team, 61-67. Cold Springs' girls, paced by a 1-3 finish by freshmen Paylee Myrex and Jessi Harbison, derailed Bayside Academy of Fairhope's bid to defend the girls' title with a 37-70 win.
    Smolin's winning time of 16:49.98 was almost seven seconds faster than Catholic-Huntsville's Mark Fisher (16:56.03). Fourth place finishes by senior Josh Dickey (17:20.38) and freshman David Hudman (17:24.83) helped Shades Mountain's cause against Cold Springs, whose best finisher was freshman Nathan Lewis in seventh (17:31.58).
    In the girls' 1A-2A race, Myrex ran 20:22.56 and Harbison 20:27.04, which was enough to offset Bayside, which got an eighth-place finish from Celeste Sullivan (21:05.52) and 11th from Crawford Hodgson (21:21.05).
    Cold Springs coach Clay Campbell said that a strong training program was a key to his team's performance.
    "We've been running real well, and we're real young, but the seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders have been working hard all year," he said. "We had a good summer program and it paid off for us. Paylee and Jessi have been battling each other all year. It's competition in practice for those two."  

    BOYS: Shades Mountain Christian 61, Cold Springs 67, Falkville 73, Bayside Academy 96, Athens Bible Academy 99, Westminister Christian 151, Catholic-Huntsville 199, Decatur Heritage Christian Academy 228, Brindlee Mountain 230, Mars Hill Bible 249, St. Bernard Prep 318.
    1. Ben Smolin, Shades Mountain Christian, 16:49.98; 2. Mark Fisher, Catholic-Huntsville, 16:56.03; 3. Gabe Mitchell, Providence Christian, 17:13.78;4. Josh Dickey, Shades Mountain Christian, 17:20.38; 5. David Hudman, Shades Mountain Christian, 17:24.83; 6. Justin Blanchard, Falkville, 17:27.89; 7. Nathan Lewis, Cold Springs, 17:31.58; 8. Andy Davidson, Athens Bible Academy, 17:32.36; 9. Nick Lewis, Cold Springs, 17:35.96; 10. Dennis Dowd, Bayside Academy, 17:48.64; 11. Zeke Nichols, Hatton, 17:54.14; 12. William Dorriety, Bayside Academy, 17:57.14; 13. Matt Garmon, Cold Springs, 17:58.34; 14. Colby Phillips, Athens Bible Academy, 17:59.46; 15. Cory Hill, Falkville, 18:03.82.
    GIRLS: Cold Springs 37, Bayside Academy 70, American Christian Academy 73, Athens Bible Academy 122, Hatton 133, Falkville 177, Section 179, Catholic-Huntsville 180, Decatur Heritage Christian Academy 190, Westminister Christian 278, Providence Christian 344, Shades Mountain Christian 351.
    1. Paylee Myrex, Cold Springs, 20:22.56; 2. Sara Gibson, American Christian, 20:23.43; 3. Jessi Harbison, Cold Springs, 20:27.04; 4. Audra Smith, Hatton, 20:35.59; 5. Lydia DeVaney, Belgreen, 20:54.13; 6. Krystal Gibbs, Falkville, 21:00.92; 7. Chelsea Burgess, Athens Bible, 21:02.05; 8. Celeste Sullivan, Bayside, 21:05.52; 9. Sarah Bailey, Mars Hill, 21:09.74; 10. Elizabeth Tiller, American Christian, 21:19.65; 11. Crawford Hodgson, Bayside, 21:21.05; 12. Abby Myrex, Cold Springs, 21:27.41; 13. Tara Fronk, Brindlee Mountain, 21:29.34; 14. Heaven Watson, Cold Springs, 21:31.97; 15. Jamie Phillips, Cold Springs, 21:37.52.


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