Sunday, August 18, 2019






Auburn Tunes up for Jesse Owens Classic with Dominating Performance at Warhawk Challenge

    MONTGOMERY— Auburn’s girls turned in a dominating performance at the Warhawk Challenge invitational cross country race held at Auburn-Montgomery’s course Sept. 29 to capture this week’s AHSAA Cross Country Spotlight.
    Six Tigers placed in the top seven of the race featuring 165 runners. Junior Harper McGowan crossing first with a winning time of 19:47.56. She won over teammate Samantha Rogers, who also clocked the same time in the photo finish.
   Freshman Lily Bachi of Montgomery Catholic was third with a 19:57.06 time, followed, in order by Auburn runners Sarah Parnell, Sara Pacer, Hallie Stewart and Sangie Lincoln-Velez. Auburn Coach Naomi Berghs team totaled 18 points to run away with the team title. Central-Phenix City was second with 68.
    The Auburn performance edged out a strong boys’ team effort by Grissom to win the Arab Invitational, and a powerful 1-2 finish by Thompson High School’s duo of Brandon DeMarcus Lee and Jace Jones at the Daphne Invitational.
    The Tigers used the Warhawk Invitational to prepare for defense of its 2017 title this Saturday at the 18th annual Jesse Owens Classic – the largest invitational meet of the year in the AHSAA.  Defending individual champions Montgomery Catholic senior Amaris Tyynismaa and Homewood senior Will Stone will be in the field of the featured Gold race at the Jesse Owens Classic at Oak Hill Indian Mounds and Museum course. Both races will feature approximately 500 of the Southeast’s top prep cross country runners and more than 35 of the top high school teams.
      As for last week’s top efforts, Lee, a Thompson senior, ran 16:08.60 to win the Daphne meet held at historic Blakeley State Park in Spanish Fort. Teammate Jones was second at 16:31.66. Lee’s time was the best of the week among AHSAA boys’ runners and was one of the best of the year. Hartselle senior Carson Levario-Slaten was third in the race clocking 16:42.48 to spark the Tigers to the team championship. Hartselle totaled 81 points and Baker was second with 86. The field included 198 participants.
     Grissom runners took the top four places to win the Arab Invitational cross country meet Class 5A-7A race held at Arab City Park. Junior Dustyn Lewis finished first with a winning time of 16:38.68. Allan Anderson was second at 17:02.16, followed by Louis Levesque (17:02.78) and Heath Varnette (17:55.11). The Tigers posted 17 points to win the team title. Arab was second with 40. The field had 38 runners.
    Fairview totaled 62 points to win the 1A-4A division over runner-up St. Bernard, which had 75 points. St. Bernard Junior Caleb Guthery won the individual title clocking 18:06.95. Kyle VanKirk of Westminster Christian finished second at 18:12.11 in the race that featured 143 participants.
    In the girls’ competition at the Arab Invitational, senior Julianne Hill of Madison Academy won the Class 1A-4A division with a winning time of 20:51.46. Ashville won the team championship edging St. Bernard 43-46 with sophomore Meghan McCarthy clocking 22:08.02 to finish third overall. Kathleen McCarthy was eighth in the 86-runner field at 23:07.88 for Ashville.
   Arab senior Megan Schwarze won the 5A-7A large-school competition with time of 20:24.79. Sarah Lewis of Grissom was second at 21:29.93. The Knights won the team title with 26 points.
    Other highlights reported include:
The senior runner won the Oak Mountain Invitational cross country meet at Heardmont Park with a 16:31.50 time. Florence senior Bennett Blake was second at 16:32.41 and Jonah Barrett of Oak Mountain was third with a 16:34.08 time. The trio closed out an exciting finish in a race that totaled 264 participants and 24 teams. Hoover won the team title with 55 points. Oak Mountain was second with 67.
JACE JONES, THOMPSON: The Warriors’ junior crossed the finish line first at the Shelby County Championships with a 16:53.35 time over the Veterans Park course in Alabaster. Pelham senior Adam Keller was second at 17:04.29, and Thompson senior Brandon DeMarcus Lee, who set the course meet record in 2016 running 16:32.77, finished third with a time of 17:07.36. Seven schools and 135 runners competed with Oak Mountain posting 38 points to take the boys’ title. Thompson was second with 65.
JEAN PIERRE LeROUX, BOB JONES: Captured first place at the Warriors Invitational cross country meet hosted by Wilson High School with the only sub-17-minute time (16:52.35) in the 84-runner field. Raleigh Stamps, a junior, was second at 17:45.08 for Rogers, which won the team title with 51 points. Muscle Shoals was second with 61 and Bob Jones third with 65. Stamps also clocked 17:34.57 on Oct. 2 to win the Elkmont Invitational cross country meet over Nicolas Ulrich of Athens Bible, who finished second with a 17:39.28 time. Rogers posted 48 points to beat Deshler (62).
NICOLAS ULRICH, ATHENS BIBLE: The junior won the Warriors Invitational Class 1A-3A division competition at Wilson High School’s Warriors Invitational clocking 17:40.19 over the 5,000-meter course. Ninety-four runners participated. Hatton won the team title with 49 points.
The Bearcats junior was first in the 199-runner field at the Cold Springs Kudzu Invitational Class 4A-7A race held at Cold Springs High School with a time of 16:43.31. Sophomore Matthew Hill of James Clemens was second crossing at 15:59.81. The Jets finished first in the team standings with 54 points and Cullman was second with 61. Eighteen teams competed.
JONAH MORRIS, WESTBROOK CHRISTIAN: Won the Cold Springs Kudzu Hills Invitational boys’ 1A-3A division race at Cold Springs High School with a time of 17:07.67. Davis Holdbrooks of Winfield was runner-up in the race featuring 133 runners with a close-second time of 187:0818. Cold Springs won the team championship with 66 points. Altamont was second with 71.
EVAN ROGERS, AUBURN: The senior ran the AUM course 5K distance in 17:08.35 to finish first in the field of 270 runners competing in the Warhawk Cross Country Challenge. The Tigers won the team title as well, posting 30 points in a dominating showing placing all five scorers in the top 13 finishers. Montgomery Catholic was second with 69 points.
SETH LORD, PINSON VALLEY: The junior clocked 18:17.92 to capture the Hueytown Invitational meet individual title over a field of 81 runners. Freshman Jack Lowe was second at 18:29.97 to lead Pell City (40 points) to the team crown. Pinson was second with 54.
JENSEN HAMMONS, DEMOPOLIS: The junior finished fourth at the Northeast Lauderdale meet held in Mississippi with a time of 18:41.33. The Tigers were third in the final team results.

The senior captured first place at the Shelby County Championship meet with a time of 19:45.99. Evie Bell, a junior at Oak Mountain, was second at 20:47.11 in the field of 105 participants to lead the Eagles to the team title. Oak Mountain had 38 points, runner-up Pelham scored 59 and Thompson was third with 69. Hogue also finished second at the Daphne Invitational meet run at historic Blakeley State Park in Spanish Fort. She clocked 18:25.56 to finish behind Long Beach (MS) freshman Brooklyn Biancamano, who crossed first at 18:06.33. Baker won the team title with 47 points and St. Paul’s Episcopal was second with 66. Thompson (104) finished third.
PRESLEY MILES, SAINT JAMES: The Trojans sophomore beat a field of 103 runners in the Cold Springs Kudzu Hills Invitational meet Class 1A-3A division with a dominating time of 18:24.10.  Holly Pond sophomore Camilla Chambers was second at 20:43.99. Cold Springs (65 points) edged out Saint James (67) to win the team title by two points.
EMILY DANIEL, LAWRENCE COUNTY: The junior finished 10 seconds ahead of Lawrence County teammate and eighth grader Savannah Williams to claim the Class 4A-7A division individual title at the Cold Springs Kudzu Hills Invitational. Daniel clocked 20:22.43 and Williams 20:32.94.  The competition included 117 runners and 12 teams. The duo helped Coach Stanley Johnson’s Red Devils post a strong score of 22 to win the meet. Cullman was second with 47.
LAINEY PHELPS, HOMEWOOD: The Patriots junior ran the Heardmont Park cross country course in 18:59.83 to beat a field of 185 runners at the Oak Mountain Invitational meet. Evie Bell of Oak Mountain was second at 20:25.70. Hoover had 46 points to take the team title. Oak Mountain was second with 66.
HANNAH THUSS, BOB JONES: Clocked 20:42.55 to win the Warriors Invitational cross country meet Class 4A-7A division race hosted by Wilson High School. The sophomore finished 14 seconds ahead of runner-up, junior Jaycee Biffle, who crossed at 20:56.67 to help Rogers High School win the team competition. Rogers had 62 points to edge Florence, which had 65. Biffle won the Elkmont Invitational on Oct. 2 with a winning time of 20:51.34. Deshler won the team competition over Rogers, 56 to 87.
KASEY EZEKIEL, COLBERT HEIGHTS: Crossed the finish line first clocking 21:31.68 at Wilson High School’s Warriors Invitational Class 1A-3A division race. Ally Amerson was third at 22:02.80 to lead Hatton to the team title with 59 points. The junior finished just ahead of teammates Neidyn Lopez and Maey Kate Sapp, who finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the race featuring 70 runners.
JAYCEE DILL, GARDENDALE: The senior won the Hueytown Invitational with a time of 23:02.28. Chloe Brown, a Pell City junior, was second in the 43-runner field with a 23:27.50 time to pace the Panthers to the team win. Pell City had 31 points and Gardendale was second with 58.

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