E.A. Sports Today

Creekbank champions

County teams win girls, boys team titles, Etowah County runners win individual gold

Pleasant Valley won the close and controversial boys team title. On the cover, Alexandria's winning girls team displays its plaque.

Pleasant Valley won the close and controversial boys team title. On the cover, Alexandria’s winning girls team displays its plaque.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD — If Saturday’s Creekbank Invitational was indeed a preview for the upcoming Calhoun County Meet on this fast track, Alexandria coach Phillip Hartsfield feels “good” about his girls’ chances while Pleasant Valley’s Brad Hood expects his boys to be in for “a dogfight.”

The Lady Cubs and Raiders won their respective team titles in Ohatchee’s meet on the same Oxford Lake course that will stage the county championship Oct. 20.

Alexandria’s girls put four runners in the top 10 and got an inspired run from its emergency fifth to score 33 points, 22 ahead of second place Pleasant Valley. PV’s boys ran in a tight pack and scored 82 points, two ahead of Oxford.

While Calhoun County teams ruled the team race, out-of-county runners won the two individual races. Mary Reid Goodwin of Westbrook Christian won the girls race in 20:11.45, nosing out Alexandria’s Abby Nunnelly and Chloe Brown. Southside’s Hunter Nails led younger brother Taylor across the boys line in 16:51.31.

The only county contender who wasn’t at the meet was Jacksonville, where top runner Rebecca Hearn is expected to challenge for the girls individual title, but the race did give the others a chance to size up the competition.

Alexandria’s girls were led by runner-up Nunnelly and third-place Brown, but they also had Lauren Reaves finish fifth and Emily McFarland count eighth. Just as inspiring was sophomore Sarah Kilgore’s 18th-place finish subbing for injured Carly McFarland.

“Any time we get to run on this course it helps us out hopefully for what we’re going to be doing (in the future),” Hartsfield said. “We feel good (about the county meet). If we keep our runners healthy and we keep working hard we like our chances.”

The Pleasant Valley boys’ win didn’t come without a little controversy. The Raiders wound up with enough points to win after Albertville failed to properly declare its lineup. The Aggies would have won the meet by 21 points had their third-place finisher been properly slotted and outfitted, but with the adjustment they fell to third.

The Raiders were targeted by the virtual meet to finish fifth. All Saturday’s finish did was serve to tighten up the possibilities for the boys county meet.

“It’s going to be close,” Hood said. “It’s going to be a dogfight among us, Oxford and Ohatchee; who knows, handful of points is going to separate them. (Winning here) is nice, but I think if anything it motivates Oxford and Ohatchee more than it motivates us.”
Fifth-place junior Daniel Gladen was PV’s fastest runner, but the Raiders made their move having Caleb Kirk, Quinton Thornton, Coleman Haynes and Jacob Gladden count 17, 18, 20 and 22, respectively, in a gap of only 16 seconds.

In the girls race, Goodwin was inspired by the comparative times of her and Nunnelly in winning their respective races at last week’s Jesse Owens Classic on the state championship course. Nunnelly led most of the race Saturday, but the Warriors’ ninth-grader passed both her and Brown with a late kick to win.

“I’ve been wanting to do that forever,” she said. “I didn’t think I had anything left, but I was going to try to do it. It was kind of unexpected. I just never caught her like that before.”

Nails, a junior, led the boys race comfortably wire to wire in only his second race back from a three-week layoff due to a left Achilles injury. He broke away from a small pack about a mile into the race and was never threatened.

“We’ve still got a few more weeks before sectionals and state so I really have time to build up on my strength,” he said. “But it’s definitely good to be back out here and run hard again.”

Girls winner Mary Reid Goodwin of Westbrook Christian.

Girls winner Mary Reid Goodwin of Westbrook Christian.

At Oxford Lake Park

Team scores: 1. Alexandria 33, 2. Pleasant Valley 55, 3. Oxford 103, 4. McEachern 108, 5. Albertville 114, 6. Ohatchee 135, 7. Southside-Gadsden 156, 8. Cedar Bluff 233, 9. White Plains 272, 10. Childersburg 281, 11. Central-Clay County 302.

Individual Top 10
x-Mary Reid Goodwin, Westbrook 20:11.45
Abby Nunnelly, Alexandria 20:17.41
Chloe Brown, Alexandria 20:19.61
Trinity Roberts, Pleasant Valley 20:59.28
Lauren Reaves, Alexandria 21:06.01
Emma Hood, Pleasant Valley 21:25.25
Grace Kelley, Albertville 21:48.20
Madison Reeder, Oxford 22:13.81
Emily McFarland, Alexandria 22:20.56
x-Catherine Clements, Gadsden City 22:27.89

Team scores:
1. Pleasant Valley 82, 2. Oxford 84, 3. Albertville 106, 4. Southside-Gadsden 119, 5. Gadsden City 122, 6. McEachern 131, 7. Alexandria 132, 8. Ohatchee 166, 9. Central-Clay County 259, 10. White Plains 286, 11. Lincoln 296, 12. Faith Christian 321, 13. Cedar Bluff 357, 14. Sacred Heart 427.

Individual Top 10
Hunter Nails, Southside 16:51.31
Taylor Nails, Southside 17:18:36
x-Victor Bravo, Albertville 17:21.09
Lane Trapp, Alexandria 17:22.84
Salim Chacon, Albertville 17:35.75
Daniel Gladen, Pleasant Valley 17:49.28
Jeremiah Burns, Oxford 18:01.88
Chance Cofield, Albertville 18:02.97
Steele Beavers, Gadsden City 18:04.20
Blake Noah, Ohatchee 18:07.30
x-Not counting towards team points

Boys winner Hunter Nails of Southside.

Boys winner Hunter Nails of Southside.

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