E.A. Sports Today

Cross-country sectionals

PV sweeps 3A sectionals; Ohatchee qualifies both teams for first time, Alexandria sending both teams, White Plains qualifies its girls, Hearn (4A), Nunnelly (5A) win individual gold

Ohatchee is sending its boys and girls cross-country teams to the state meet together for the first time.

Ohatchee is sending its boys and girls cross-country teams to the state meet together for the first time.

By East Alabama Sports Today

SCOTTSBORO — The top-ranked Pleasant Valley girls cross country team lived up to its billing Thursday winning the Class 3A Section 4 race in, uh, a runaway.

The Lady Raiders placed all five runners in the top seven, running in a pack separated by 69 seconds, and scored 22 points. Ohatchee finished third and also qualified for the state meet Nov. 14 at the Oakville Indian Mounds Park.

The 3A boys race finished similarly with Pleasant Valley’s boys winning for the second year in a row and Ohatchee finishing third.

“It’s fun, it’s cool, it’s neat for them to be able to do that,” PV coach Brad Hood said. “It’s a lot better we’re loading the bus up and both teams are taking home championships.”

Ohatchee coach Casey Howell had a similar feeling about his program qualifying the boys and the girls for state for the first time.

Seventh-grader Trinity Roberts led the PV girls’ charge, finishing second to race winner Mary Reid Goodwin of Westbrook Christian in 20:59.75. Emma Hood was third (21:12.26), Juliana Ballew fourth (21:42.67), Rachel Faucett sixth (21:55.06) and Bailey Dollar seventh (22:08.07).

The Lady Raiders will be ranked No. 1 when they go into the state meet. The latest virtual meet coming out of Thursday’s result has them No. 1 by a comfortable margin, interestingly without an individual runner in the top 10.

“I was really pleased,” Hood said. “I’ve been saying my 4 and 5 were getting stronger, but I didn’t think they’d be that strong on this course … which is amazing; no team in the state is going to do that.

“We’re just fortunate to have kids who are competitive. They don’t want to settle for being 4 or 5. It makes them all faster.”

Ohatchee placed three runners in the top 15 — Kourtney Shuler (ninth, 22:37.58); Ashley Leath (13th, 23:09.62); and Victoria McRaney (15th, 23:11.86). The Lady Indians missed going to the state meet last year by one point and according to Howell have been thinking about it “every day.”

“When you get one and not the other you kind of have mixed emotions,” Howell said. “They couldn’t be happier and I couldn’t be happier for them.”

In the boys race, PV placed three in the top 10 while winning its fourth meet in a row. Daniel Gladen was fourth, Quinton Thornton sixth and Jacob Gladen 10th.

Ohatchee, meanwhile, overcame the loss of its two top runners – No. 1 Jimmy Wilson transferred to Alexandria last week for wrestling – to qualify for the state meet. Blake Noah (18:02.54) led three Ohatchee boys in the top 20, finishing eighth. Gabe Hammonds (19:12.16) and Brennan Wink (19:20.33) and Tristan Woodall (19:37.45) finished 18, 19, 21, respectively.

Senior Bryant Dunaway finished 28th to pick up the necessary back points to push the Indians through.

“We knew our first four couldn’t have any drop off and our 5 had to really step up,” Howell said. “After we lost 1 and 2, we had two ninth-graders and a junior lead the team (Noah, Hammonds and Wink). They stepped up and led the team when some others would’ve folded.”

Race winner Rebecca Hearn (L) and Mary Shelton were Jacksonville's top two finishers in their sectional race.

Race winner Rebecca Hearn (L) and Mary Shelton were Jacksonville’s top two finishers in their sectional race.


TRUSSVILLE – A late change in strategy propelled Jacksonville’s two-time county champion Rebecca Hearn to the individual victory.

Hearn’s original plan was to stay with Chaylee Mizzell of West Blocton, who had beaten her twice this year, before making her move. Instead, she ended up going out fast and won by more than a minute and a half in 20:29.16.

“When I was thinking about the race last night and yesterday that’s what I wanted to do … but once the gun went off I decided to run out front and stay there the whole time,” Hearn said. “That was probably a good decision. … I didn’t really think about it. I just kind of did it.”

The Golden Eagles missed qualifying as a team by five points, but they still are sending four runners to the state meet – Hearn, Mary Shelton (23:41.48), Shelby Ausborn (27:07.31) and Abby Cockrell (28:37.43).

Meanwhile, the White Plains girls qualified second as a team with three runners counting in the top 10 — Briar Poytress (24:12.48), Savannah Yates (24:17.58) and Chasity Nelson (24:18.05). Its boys finished fourth, but qualified Will Lee, Matthew Moore and Isaiah Verde for state.

“We are very pleased with our girls,” WP coach Krista Young said. “They were only seeded third going into the meet and our highest individual prediction was 11th overall, so to finish second as a team and have the eighth, ninth and 11th finishes (overall) for our first three to cross the line was a big win for us.”


DOTHAN – After much post-race confusion to sort out the scoring – and folks still left the course in doubt — Alexandria’s girls won the team championship.

What wasn’t confusing was Abby Nunnelly and teammate Chloe Brown finished 1-2 individually for the Lady Cubs.

The Alexandria boys, meanwhile, also qualified for the state meet, finishing third. Lane Trapp finished fourth individually. Anniston two-time county champion Zebedee Lunsford finished in the top 10 and is believed to have qualified individually.

The race was run in sloppy conditions, to the point some parts of the Eastgate Park course were knee-deep in water. As a result, several runners in the girls race lost shoes that contained scoring chips throwing the entire scoring process into chaos.

Coaches were told to await an email confirmation perhaps if they had an individual runner qualify.

(When later posted, both Lunsford and Tony White had qualified as individuals for Anniston.)

“It was cross country – through water and mud and everything,” Alexandria coach Phillip Hartsfield said. “A couple got their shoes sucked off their feet and came across (the line) without their strips. Mine came across with both shoes on.”

It wasn’t difficult to keep up with Nunnelly and Brown – they were out front – but keeping up with the rest of the field in 1A/2A/5A combined race was difficult, Hartsfield said.

Unofficially, Nunnelly, last year’s 5A state runner-up, came home in 20:30. It was a good result for a standout runner who had been having leg trouble this season.

(When later posted, Nunnelley’s winning time was 20:23.33).

“Abby ran like a beast today,” Hartsfield said. “I don’t know how much she won by, but she won it going away.

“She’s got a lot of grit. She’s going to run no matter what, and we’re still having to take it easy on her. She’s running through pain right now because we’re this close to the end of the season, but she’s got grit and a lot of heart. She ran today like a champ.”

The Lady Cubs had four of the top 10 finishers and placed all five of their runners in the top 15 overall.


SCOTTSBORO – Oxford’s Luke Thomas, Jeremiah Burns and Reed Robinson all qualified as individuals. The Yellow Jackets finished fourth as a team.

Thomas ran 17:42.52, Burns 18:02.34 and Robinson 18:08.31. They were all in the top 21 overall.

Amber Dempsey (21:31.90) and Madison Reeder (21:35.75) qualified for the Oxford girls. The Lady Jackets finished sixth as a team.


SCOTTSBORO — Faith Christian’s Presley Whitten qualified as an individual. She finished 16th overall in a time of 26:06.65.

The boys qualified two — Jack Sills and Callen Bone.


Girls Race
Team scores: Pleasant Valley 22, Pisgah 73, Ohatchee 77, Brindlee Mountain 126, Madison Academy 129, Ashville 143, Westbrook Christian 158, Glencoe 180.

Individual Top 10: Mary Reid Goodwin, Westbrook Christian 19:34.71; Trinity Roberts, Pleasant Valley 20:59.75; Emma Hood, Pleasant Valley 21:12.26; Juliana Ballew, Pleasant Valley 21:42.67; Julianne Hill, Madison Academy 21:45.50; Rachel Faucett, Pleasant Valley 21:55.06; Bailey Dollar, Pleasant Valley 22:08.07; Annie Hughes, Pisgah 22:24.64; Kourtney Shuler, Ohatchee 22:37.58; Grace Taymon, Brindlee Mountain 22:46.49.

Boys Race
Team scores: Pleasant Valley 51, Madison Academy 71, Ohatchee 94, Pisgah 101, Brindlee Mountain 119, Ashville 130, Westbrook Christian 186, Glencoe 198.

Individual Top 10: Will Oglesby, Madison Acad. 16:53.63; Brandon Mendez, Brindlee Mountain 17:22.62; Daniel Tully, Ashville 17:30.32; Daniel Gladen, Pleasant Valley 17:41.89; Ben Hembree, Pisgah 17:53.87; Quinton Thornton, Pleasant Valley 17:56.20; Mitchell Cook, Westbrook Christian 17:59.39; Blake Noah, Ohatchee 18:02.54; Ryan Donna, Madison Academy 18:05.36; Jacob Gladen, Pleasant Valley 18:31.18.


Girls Race
Team scores: West Blocton 31, White Plains 57, Sipsey Valley 63, Jacksonville 68, Bibb County 147.

Individual Top 10: Rebecca Hearn, Jacksonville 20:29.16; Chaylee Mizzell, West Blocton 22:04.67; Alegna Contreras, Sipsey Valley 23:05.94; Sophie Vick, West Blocton, 23:31.56; Katie Sanders, Childersburg 23:34.01; Megan McCoy, West Blocton 23:36.33; Mary Shelton, Jacksonville 23:41.48; Briar Poytress, White Plains 24:12.48; Savannah Yates, White Plains 24:17.58; Kayla Brown, West Blocton 24:18.05.

The White Plains girls cross country team finished second in its sectional, heading to the state meet.

The White Plains girls cross country team finished second in its sectional, heading to the state meet.

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