BIRMINGHAM – Coach Jim Tate’s St. Paul’s Episcopal Lady Saints captured the school’s 24th state title at the AHSAA ‘s 48th State Indoor Track Championships Saturday at the Birmingham CrossPlex. Hoover’s boys also snapped Auburn’s two-year dominance in Class 7A as the Bucs rolled to their seventh indoor title overall.
Coach Devin Hind’s Bucs accumulated 111 points en route to the Class 7A boys’ championship. Hewitt-Trussville, coached by David Dobbs, was second with 58 points. McGill-Toolen Catholic and Mountain Brook tied for third with 41.5 points each. The Lady Bucs also won the girls’ championship with a 123-point effort. Mountain Brook was runner-up with 78.5. James Clemens finished third with 63.
Opelika won its second Class 6A boys’ championship in a row scoring 89 points. Homewood was runner-up with 73, followed by Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa’s 54-point effort. On the girls’ side, Homewood totaled 151 points to finish first, and Opelika’s girls were second with 62. Pelham posted 60 points to finish third.
St. Paul’s had 85.5 points to win in Class 4A/5A and Montgomery Catholic finished second with 65. Central-Tuscaloosa had 43 points and finished third. The Saints have now won eight straight girls’ indoor state titles. Scottsboro won the Class 4A/5A boys’ championship with 103 points. Winfield, thanks in part to a 40-point effort by senior Trey Cunningham, was second with 73. Madison Academy was third with 39.
Coach Charles Tiller’s American Christian Patriots won the Class 1A/3A boys’ and girls’ state championships. The boys had 87 points, Holly Pond was second with 62 and Montgomery Academy finished third with 51. ACA’s girls amassed 121 points while runner-up Westminster of Oak Mountain was second 86, and Whitesburg Christian finished third with 77.
In the individual competition, Winfield’s Trey Cunningham set a new AHSAA indoor state meet overall and Class 4A/5A record in the 60-meter hurdles with a winning time of 7.54 seconds. That mark eclipsed the record he set in the prelims (7.58) and also topped former Hoover sprinter Marlon Humphrey’s previous state mark of 7.80 set in 2013. West Point’s Hunter Appling finished second in the 4A/5A finals with an 8.23 time. That also surpassed the previous 4A/5A mark set by Lezyon Lagard (8.30) of Central-Tuscaloosa in 2013. Appling broke that mark in the prelims as well clocking 8.27.
Cunningham, who also won the Class 4A/5A long jump Saturday to finish with 40 points in the meet, clocked 6.79 seconds to set the AHSAA all-time, all-class indoor state meet record in the Class 4A/5A 60-meter dash finals. The time was just 1/100ths of a second off his best time of the year (6.79) that he ran in the Last Chance Classic at the CrossPlex last weekend. The winning time also gave him a new 4A/5A record – closing his AHSAA indoor career with state meet records in the 60 overall, in 4A/5A and in 1A/3A. He also won the long jump Saturday with a 23-foot, 1-inch leap.
Jayla Kirkland of Woodlawn also set a new overall and Class 4A/5A state meet record in the 60-meter dash Saturday with a 7.48 time. She held the mark with 7.49 in 2014 and 2015 in Class 6A. She holds the CrossPlex record as well with a 7.46 time she ran last weekend in the Last Chance Classic regular season meet.
Dan Passen of Xpress Timing, the official meet electronic timer, also set up a camera to get all runners’ 55-meter times in the two races. Cunningham’s time of 7.00 (6.998) tied the national record in that event set last year by Grant Holloway of Grassfield High School in Cheseapeake (VA) at a meet in New York City.
Cunningham’s time also surpassed the AHSAA overall state record (7.39) in the 55-meter hurdles, now discontinued. It was set by Hoover’s Chris Butler in 1998 at Priceville’s Celebration Arena. Cunningham was clocked at 6.33 seconds by the 55-meter clock in the 60 he ran Saturday. That too was faster than the AHSAA overall state mark in that discontinued event. Sidney Lanier’s Chris Chukuma established the record (6.46) in 1996. The high school national record in the 55 is 6.08 seconds, set by Marvin Bracey of Orlando-Boone High School (FL) in 2012.
Kirkland’s time at the 55-meter distance of her race was 6.95 seconds, faster than the AHSAA indoor state record (7.18) owned by Laquinta Aaron of N0rthridge in 2006.
Caitlyn Little of Hoover, who won the 60-meter hurdles, was clocked at 7.96 by the 55-meter clock. The AHSAA 55-meter dash indoor record (8.10) was set by Jihan Trone of Hewitt-Trussville in 2000. That event was discontinued after 2007.
Four runners broke the Class 7A girls’ 1,600-meter state meet record Saturday with Mountain Brook’s Anna Grace Morgan winning with a 4:59.96 time. Huntsville’s Abby Zane was second (5:04.74), Harper McGowan of Auburn (5:07.70) was third and Grace Jensen of McGill-Toolen Catholic (5:07.86) was fourth. Frances Patrick Mountain Brook set the previous record in 2016 (5:07.88).
Auburn’s Erik Ebel set a new CrossPlex record in the shot put with a winning throw of 58 feet, 11 inches in the Class 7A boys’ competition. He was still well short of the AHSAA’s oldest standing record, Frank Warren’s 63-foot, 6 ½-inch toss in the 1977 state meet for Phillips High School. Warren went on to have an outstanding football career at Auburn University and then spent 14 years in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints. The defensive tackle was also inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame. He is now deceased.
Highlights from Saturday’s races and field events:
CLASS 7A GIRLS
60-meter dash: Sparkman’s Lauryn Hall, who eclipsed the 7A indoor state meet record in the prelims, erased her own record (7.71) in the finals with a 7.66 time. Kayla Williams of James Clemens had the previous record of 7.73.
400-meter dash: Nicole Payne of Oak Mountain broke her own Class 7A state indoor record by 1/100th of a second to win in 55.24 seconds. The old record set last year was 55.25.
60-meter hurdles: Caitlyn Little of Hoover won the finals heat with an 8.56 time.
High Jump: Genesis Jones of Hoover tied the 7A indoor state record with a 5-04 height. Mountain Brook’s Julia Leonard set the record originally in 2015.
Triple Jump: Alonie Sutton of Smiths Station set a Class 7A record with a winning leap of 39-11.50. The old mark (38-07.50) was set by Kayla Williams of James Clemens in 2015.
4x800-meter relay: Hoover finished first with a winning time of 9:27.55.
4x400-meter relay: The Bucs ran the winning time of 3:59.64, just 11/100ths of a second off the 7A indoor record.
CLASS 6A GIRLS
60-meter dash: Jasmine Griffin’s 7.64 time gave the Homewood sprinter the victory.
60-meter hurdles: Walker’s Maddie Harrell won the finals heat with a 9.01-second time.
400-meter dash: Ann Mosely Whitsett of Homewood won in 58.71 seconds.
High Jump: Caroline Lawrence of Homewood cleared 5-04 to take first place.
Long Jump: Ghania Warren leaped 17-10.75 to win the event for Opelika.
4x400-meter relay: Homewood’s winning time of 3:54.26 set a new Class 6A indoor stat meet record. Hoover set the old mark (3:56.58) in 2014.
4x800-meter relay: Fort Payne won in 10:00.22.
CLASS 4A/5A GIRLS
400-meter dash: Senior Jayla Kirkland of Woodlawn set a new class indoor state meet record with her winning time of 56.92. Iris Robinson of Parker had held the 4A/5A record (57.95) since 2012. Kirkland holds the CrossPlex record (54.43).
1,600-meter run: Class 4A/5A indoor state meet record holder Amaris Tyynismaa of Montgomery Catholic won with a 5:04.91 time. She was just shy of the record (5:01.36) she set in 2015.
Long Jump: Claire West of Madison Academy won with a 14-06 winning leap.
High Jump: Danielle Shears of Mortimer Jordan edged Jalyn Bowen of Brewbaker Tech. Each cleared 5-04 but Shears had fewer misses.
4x800-meter relay: St. Paul’s won easily with a time of 10:13.23.
4x400-meter relay: Central-Tuscaloosa sped to first place with a 4:12.06 finish.
CLASS 1A/3A GIRLS
60-meter dash: Payton Metcalf of Westminster-Oak Mountain had an 8.08 time to win the final heat. She also ran 8.08 Friday for the fastest time of the prelims.
60-meter hurdles: Kayleigh Atkins of American Christian won with a 9.35 time. Teammate Helen Claire Edmonds finished second at 9.70.
400-meter dash: Prattville Christian’s Jaime Drouin won with a 1:01.06 time.
1,600-meter run: Hannah Tarwater of Whitesburg Christian beat the field with a time of 5:14.22.
High Jump: Rachel Faucett of Pleasant Valley set a new 1A/3A high jump record clearing 5 feet, 7 inches. The old record (5-06) was set by Yutta Shelton of Randolph in 1981.
Triple Jump: Helen Clair Edmonds of American Christian won the event with a winning leap of 35 feet, 8 ¾ inches.
4x800-meter relay: Westminster of Oak Mountain won the race with a time of 10:22.96.
4x400-meter relay: Westminster also captured the final race of the 1A/3A girls’ competition with a time of 4:20.75, just a second off the 13-year-old state record set by Madison County in 2004.