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Auburn, Winfield, Hoover, Pelham, St. Paul’s and American Christian are Defending Champs at 48th AHSAA Indoor Track and Field Championships

   BIRMINGHAM – Auburn (7A), Opelika (6A), Northside (4A/5A) and Winfield (1A/3A), the 2016 AHSAA boys’ state champions, and 2016 girls’ state champs Hoover (7A), Pelham (6A), St. Paul’s Episcopal (4A/5A) and American Christian (1A-3A will be primed to defend their titles at 48th AHSAA State Indoor Track and Field Championships set for the Birmingham CrossPlex, Feb. 3-4.
    Winfield, led by senior track sensation Trey Cunningham, will be competing in the Class 4A-5A division this year. Cunningham, a Florida State signee, is back for his final indoor state tournament after winning four events in the 2016 state indoor meet. St. Paul’s Episcopal’s girls are also going for their 24th state indoor championship under the direction of Coach Jim Tate, an AHSAA state record.
    Cunningham became the fastest high school 60-meter hurdler in prep indoor track history last weekend when he ran a 7.49-second to win the event at the Last Chance Indoor Championships at the CrossPlex. He also clocked 6.78 seconds in the 60-meter dash, the second-fastest high school time in the nation this year. The leader ran a 6.77 time.
      He continued his assault of the AHSAA indoor state track record book last season with classification record wins in the 400, long jump, 60-meter dash and 60-meter hurdles for a meet high 40 points. He ran a 1A-3A state record 50.30 seconds to win the 400-meter dash and won the 1A-3A 60-meter hurdles with a winning time of 7.84 seconds. He set the class record in the 2016 prelims with a 7.83 time and established the CrossPlex overall record during the regular season with a 7.76 time to rank him first nationally this season. And he closed out his meet performance with 6.98 time in the 60-meter dash for his fourth record of 2016. The Pirates standout also recorded a winning leap of 23 feet, 4 inches to set the Class 1A-3A state indoor record – erasing the 37-year-old mark (22-3 3/4) set by Derrell Washington of Calhoun in 1980. 
    Cunningham clocked 6.86 seconds in the 2017 MLK 60-meter dash, 49.76 seconds in the 400 meters and 7.59, the previous CrossPlex record, in the 60-meter hurdles while winning all three events. He also holds the Class 3A state-meet records for the 110 and 300-meter hurdles.
    Junior Cagan Campbell of Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa has also clocked the fastest 400-meter dash in the nation this indoor season. He ran a 47.64 time in the MLK Classic at the CrossPlex in January.
     Noah Igbinoghene of Hewitt-Trussville, who set the Class 7A indoor triple jump state record with a leap of 48 feet, 1 inch in 2016, is also back for the Huskies, is also back. The Auburn football signee has had an indoor-season best leap of 24 feet, 1 ¾ inches this season and has also leaped 49-3 ¾ in the triple jump. Both distances are among the nation’s best in 2017.
    Among the top girls’ competitors are senior Jayla Kirkland of Woodlawn (Class 4A/5A) and sophomores Amaris Tyynismaa of Montgomery-Catholic (4A/5A) and Nicole Payne Oak Mountain (7A) and freshman Lainey Phelps of Homewood.
     Kirkland has the fastest time in the nation in the 400-meter dash – clocking 54.43 seconds in the MLK Classic earlier this season. She also ran a 7.48 time in the 60-meter dash at the in the Holiday Invitational in December, just 7/100ths of a second shy of the best time in the nation this season. That time was just shy of her own CrossPlex record of 7.46 in the event. She holds the AHSAA Indoor state record in the event with a time of 7.49 in the 2014 and 2015 state meets. Kirkland also holds the CrossPlex record for the 400-meter dash (54.43), which she set at this year’s MLK Classic.
     Tyynismaa, a three-time state cross-country champion, will also be competing in 4A/5A. She holds the AHSAA Indoor state meet record in the 3,200-meter run (10:32.94), which she set in 2015. Tyynismaa also holds the 4A/5A Indoor state record in the 1,600-meter run (5:00.18). Payne won the 7A indoor state championship in the 400-meter dash last season with a state-meet overall record time of 55.25 seconds. She won the MLK Classic 6A/7A division in 2017 with a meet-record 55.65 time. Homewood’s Phelps has the best indoor 3,200, 1,600 and 800 times of the regular season for Alabama prep runners, however, clocking 10:44.77, 4.56.05 and 2:14.14, respectively, in those events.
    The state meet will get underway at 9 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 3 with field events and the 3,200-meter run. Saturday’s schedule will begin at 8 a.m., with field events and at 9 a.m., with running events.
    The NFHS Network will live-stream the championships once again with Jerry Young handling the announcing duties. The link for broadcast information is:
http://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/ahsaa/79ee8320e5