The AHSAA State Indoor Track & Field Championships are set to begin at 9 a.m. Friday at the Birmingham CrossPlex with 1,391 student-athletes competing. The championships will conclude Saturday, starting at 8 a.m.
The AHSAA Super Section Wrestling Championships are scheduled this weekend with the North Section at Bill Harris Arena at the Birmingham CrossPlex and the South Section is at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl Multiplex.
For the first time since 1992, the indoor championships will feature include four high school divisions: Class 7A, Class 6A, Class 4A-5A and 1A-3A. Last year’s divisions were 6A, 5A, 1A-4A.
The 2015 state championships will be the first featuring the Class 7A division. That means a new division of state records and a chance for McGill-Toolen pole vaulter Margaret Ollinger to set a state mark in another division. She set the 6A indoor record last season clearing 12 feet, 1 inch to win the state crown. She has qualified this season with one of the top vaults in the nation (13-02.25).
McGill-Toolen also features two of the best prep boys pole vaulters in the nation with Sean Collins coming in with a career best 16 feet, 6.50 inches as his best leap. Teammate Chris Taylor has also cleared 15 feet this season. Collins also set the AHSAA indoor state meet record last season with a 15-07 winning vault.
Bram Miller, a Falkville junior who won the 1A state outdoor crown last season with a 6-6 clearance, is expected to make a serious run at the 1A-3A state record (6-4) set by James Sanders of Springville in 1981. Miller has cleared 6-10 in practice this winter and qualified for the state meet with a 6-2 jump.
Distance runner Amaris Tyynismaa of Montgomery Catholic comes in with qualifying times that could better or almost equal the state marks in Class 4A-5A. Tyynismaa shattered the AHSAA cross country overall state record in November running the 3.1-mile distance in 17:03. The eighth’s grader’s indoor qualifying times include 10:37.10 in the 3,200 – just three seconds of the record set by current Vanderbilt runner Carmen Carlos of McGill-Toolen. Carlos, who competed in Class 6A, also holds overall state indoor records in the 800 and 1,600.
Tyynismaa has a 5:00.18 best indoor time in the 1,600 this season – 11 seconds off Carlos’ record pace but nine seconds better than the current 4A-5A record.
The AHSAA Indoor Championships were first held at Montgomery’s Garrett Coliseum in 1966. The indoor door championships later moved to Priceville’s Celebration Arena on the same wooden track used at Montgomery. However, the AHSAA discontinued the indoor championships for one year in 1993 while repairs were being made and then shut down the competition from 2008-2012 for safety reasons once again with the promise of the current world-class CrossPlex facility to be constructed. The AHSAA reinstated indoor track as a championship at the CrossPlex in 2012.
Last year’s state champions for girls were Hoover (6A), St. Paul’s (5A) and Beauregard (1A-4A). This year, St. Paul’s and Beauregard are in the same division (4A-5A) along with perennial power UMS-Wright. Boys’ champions in 2014 were Hoover (6A), Homewood (5A) and UMS-Wright (1A-4A). Hoover is now competing in 7A, Homewood moved up to 6A and UMS-Wright is in the new 4A-5A division.
Super Section Wrestling: Competition in three divisions (7A, 6A and 1A-5A) commences at 10 a.m. Friday and 9:30 Saturday morning. Matches will continue on a rolling schedule until the meet ends Saturday afternoon. Qualifiers will advance to the 60th AHSAA State Wrestling Championships scheduled at Huntsville’s Von Braun Center Feb. 12-14.