MONTGOMERY – Pleasant Valley High School’s girls turned in a perfect score at the White Plains Twilight Cross Country Invitational held at the White Plains Youth Sports Complex and Cross Country Trail last week to open the 2017 AHSAA cross country season.
The two-time defending Class 3A state champion Lady Raiders placed the first seven runners across the finish line with the top five scoring a perfect 15 to win the competition and grabbed the AHSAA Cross Country Spotlight for Week 1 of the 2017 season.
Freshman Trinity Roberts, who finished third in last year’s Class 3A state cross country meet, clocked 20:58.83 to win the 5,000-meter race for Coach Brad Hood’s squad. Senior Rachel Faucett was second at 21:30.15.
Abby Nunnelly of Alexandria won the large-school race with a time of 21:47.46 to lead the Valley Cubs to the team title. Alexandria had 24 points runner-up while White Plains was second with 43 points. The Lady Wildcats were led by Briar Poytress’ runner-up finish just less than a second ahead of Jacksonville’s Mary Shelton with a time of 23:03.82. Shelton clocked 23:04.43.
Other highlights from the first week of cross country competition reported include:
MOBILE CROSS COUNTRY CHALLENGE OF CHAMPIONS: McGill-Toolen Catholic’s Grace Jensen clocked 19:26.20 to claim the individual championship at the Cross Country Challenge of Champions held at Langhan Park in Mobile. Lexie Williams of Fairhope was third in the very competitive invitational division with a 20:22.90 time. Ocean Springs (MS) won the team title with 43 points. Brookwood (GA) was second with 44 and McGill-Toolen was third with 87. Olivia Blackmon of T.R. Miller won the girls’ open race in 20:21.15. Daphne’s Nicole Luther was second with a 22:04.86 time. Brookwood (GA) won the team competition with 33 points. T.R. Miller was third with 73.
11TH ANNUAL WAFFLE HOUSE / YELLOW JACKETS INVITATIONAL: American Christian’s Becca Billman and Harper Roberts finished 1-2 in the meet held at Oxford with times of 19:39.04 and 20:03.36. Fort Payne, led by junior Gracie Groat’s fifth-place finish, won the team title with 47 points. John Carroll Catholic was second with 68 and ACA was third with 76.
6th ANNUAL PEPSI CHALLENGE: The host Lawrence County girls captured the first four places in the girls’ large-school division of the 5,000-K cross country race to win the 6th Annual Pepsi Challenge held at Moulton’s H.A. Alexander Park with a near perfect 17 points. Savannah Williams led the Lady Red Devils with a winning time of 21:03.88. Teammate Emily Daniel was second at 21:11.79, followed by Talor Williams (21:49.27) and Jenny Jett (22:14.28). The fifth runner to cross the finish line for Coach Stanley Johnson’s team was Paige Guess, who finished eighth overall. Scottsboro was second with 48 points. West Limestone won the small-school team title with 28 points. Altamont was second with 66. Mary Allen Murray of Altamont won the competition with a time of 21:19.81. Katie Serrato, Cassidy Winter and Yarahy Marcelino were 2-3-4, respectively, for West Limestone. Serrato’s second-place time was 21:55.97.
BROOKS INVITATIONAL: Mary Claire Ridgeway of Florence won the Class 4A-7A division with a winning time of 18:20.50. Phoebe Moon of Wilson was second at 19:44.31. James Clemens won the team championship with 57 points and Buckhorn was second with 81. The 1A-3A girls’ race was won by Hatton with 36 points. Kasey Eziekel of Cold Springs was the individual winner (21:10.12). Ally Amerson finished second and Mary Kate Sapp was third for Hatton.
TRINITY TRAILBLAZER INVITATIONAL: Three-time state AHSAA cross country champion Amaris Tyynismaa clocked 21:00.96 to win the girls’ 5,000-meter race held at Young Meadows in Montgomery. MaKennah Mills of Northview was second at 22:15.49, followed by Catholic runners Isabelle Cochran and Katie Galvin at 3 and 4, respectively. The Lady Knights won the team competition with 31 points. Montgomery Academy was second with 112.
MOBILE CROSS COUNTRY CHALLENGE OF CHAMPIONS: Fairhope’s Jared Touart clocked 16:46.75 to finish third in the strong field competing in the Cross Country Challenge of Champions at Mobile’s Langhan Park. Hunter Appleton of Brother Martin (LA) won the invitational division 5,000-meter race in 16:33.42. His team also won the meet title with 58 points. The top Alabama finisher was Baker in fourth place. Bayside Academy’s Ernest Ladd turned in the best time of the 257 runners competing in open division to win in 17:49.06. Brother Martin (LA) won the team title with 43 points. Bayside was third with 136.
11TH ANNUAL WAFFLE HOUSE / YELLOW JACKETS INVITATIONAL: American Christian seniors Joseph Wohlers and Taylor Ray clocked 16:50.91 and 16:55.51 to finish 1-2 in the 11th annual race hosted at Oxford to lead Coach Charles Tiller’s Patriots to the team title. ACA totaled 27 points and John Carroll Catholic was a distant second with 132.
6th ANNUAL PEPSI CHALLENGE: Scottsboro totaled 20 points as Wildcats’ runners finished 2 through 7 in the competition behind race winner Connor Sims of Brewer. Sims clocked 17:19.20 in the boys’ large-school division of the 5,000-K race at Moulton’s H.A. Alexander Park. Cooper Atkins led Scottsboro’s strong team effort with a time of 17:23.33 to finish second – just five seconds ahead of teammate Davin Berry, who clocked 17:28.33.
Lawrence County finished second with 66 points and Brewer was third with 71.
Asher Desai and James Dixon finished 1-2 for Altamont in the small-school competition with times of 17:24.73 and 17:42.81, respectively. Cold Springs, led by third-place finisher C.J. Lang, captured the championship with 34 points. Altamont was second with 68.
BROOKS INVITATIONAL: Florence won the boys’ 4A-7A race with 43 points. St. John Paul II Catholic was second with 62 points and James Clemens third with 72. Noah Flynn won the individual competition with a winning time of 16:50.23 for St. John Paul II. Grant Brown was second (16:55.88) to lead Florence. Junior Kagen Sutton of Hatton clocked 17:41.03 to pace the Hornets in the 1A-3A race. Hatton won with 28 points and Colbert Heights was second with 55.
WHITE PLAINS TWILIGHT MEET: Jake Moore of White Plains ran the 5,000 meters in 18:06.47 to claim the large-school division individual championship. The Wildcats won the team title with 39 points. Anniston and Alexandria were 2-3 at 66 and 67 points, respectively.
Pleasant Valley won the small-school race with 24 points as Matisse Miller finished second with a time of 18:01.87.
TRINITY TRAILBLAZER INVITATIONAL: Judson Hardin of Alabama Christian ran 18:21.26 to win the individual boys’ race held at Young Meadows in Montgomery. Hollis Johnson was second (19:02.14), leading Montgomery Catholic to the team championship. The Knights finished with 29 points and LAMP was second with 74. A total of 90 runners were in the field.