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Strong Field of Returning Champions Set to Battle At AHSAA State Cross Country Championships

     MONTGOMERY – All 12 defending state championship teams will be in the field for the AHSAA State Cross Country Championships that will take place Saturday, Nov. 14, at Oakville Indian Mounds State Park and Museum cross-country course near Moulton.
   Mountain Brook’s girls will be going for a 13th straight state title and second straight in Class 7A when the competition commences with the 7A girls’ race at 8:30 Saturday morning. The Lady Spartans have 22 state titles overall. The girls’ competition will be the 43rd for the ladies since Tuscaloosa High School won the first competition in 1973. The Class 6A boys’ race kicks off the 60th AHSAA Boys’ Cross Country Championships at 8:50 a.m.
    Girls’ team defending champions are Mountain Brook (7A), American Christian (3A), Wilson (4A), Lawrence County (5A), John Carroll Catholic (6A), and St. Bernard (1A-2A).
    Defending boys’ team champions include Auburn (7A), Homewood (6A), Lawrence County (5A), Northside (4A), Montgomery Academy (3A), and Cold Springs (1A-2A).
   Among the top individuals returning in the girls’ competition are Amaris Tyynismaa of Montgomery-Catholic and Mary Grace Strozier of Pelham. Tyynismaa, a freshman, set the AHSAA all-time 5,000-meter record for all classes in the state meet last year with a 17:03.04 time to win the Class 4A individual crown. Earlier this season, she ran 17:42.54 in the 17th annual Jesse Owens Classic to finish third overall, and she has a personal best of 16:57 on the year.  Stozier, the Class 6A defending champion, ran 18:26.39 in the Jesse Owens race to finish 14th. Her 5K best came in last year’s 2014 Class 6A state championship race when she ran 18:07 to win first place.
     Defending 1A-2A state champion St. Bernard’s Ivy Edge is back to defend the Gold she won last year as an eighth grader. Isabel Valenzuela of St. Paul’s Episcopal is defending champ in the 5A field, and freshman Abbey Weitenbeck of Huntsville returns in Class 7A to defend her 2014 title. Weitenbeck’s personal best is 18:16.59.
    Junior Cole Stidfole of Oak Mountain, who finished third in Class 7A last season at 15:57.97, clocked 15:20.45 earlier this fall at the Jesse Owens Invitational to finish second. Paul Barlow of Auburn won the individual 7A state title last year with a winning time of 15:51.03. Now a senior, he climbed from 22nd in Class 6A as a sophomore to win the first 7A state championship race in 2014.
    Senior Dylan Pausic of Shades Mountain Christian is back to defend his 1A-2A individual title. Nick Klein of Winfield and Jack Barganier of Montgomery Academy are back in the 3A field after finishing 1-2, respectively, last season with just five seconds between them.
   Murphy High School won the first AHSAA boys’ state cross country championship in 1956 and followed with state crowns in 1957, 1958, 1960, 1061, 1962 and 1964.

AHSAA State Cross Country Championships
Saturday’s Schedule
Class 7A Girls                        8:30 a.m.
Class 6A Boys                        8:50 a.m.
Class 3A Girls                        9:10 a.m.
Class 7A Boys                        9:30 a.m.
Class 6A Girls                        9:50 a.m.
Class 3A Boys                        10:10 a.m.
Class 1A-2A Girls                  10:30 a.m.
Class 5A Boys                        10:50 a.m.
Class 4A Girls                        11:10 a.m.
Class 1A-2A Boys                 11:30 a.m.
Class 5A Girls                        11:50 a.m.
Class 4A Boys                        12:10 a.m.

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