E.A. Sports Today

XC Notebook

PV coach calls boys’ team his best ever; Nunnelly, Hearn, Trapp all finish in the top 10; results of all county runners

Calhoun County champions Zebedee Lunsford (L) and Rebecca Hearn talk about their respective races at Saturday's state cross country meet.

Calhoun County champions Zebedee Lunsford (L) and Rebecca Hearn talk about their respective races at Saturday’s state cross country meet.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

MOULTON – Pleasant Valley coach Brad Hood was over the moon with his girls team’s cross country state championship Saturday, but he wasn’t about to leave his boys team behind in the celebration.

As soon as the Lady Raiders’ Class 3A state title at the Oakville Indian Mounds Park became official, Hood returned to the starting line to focus on the boys team.

The PV boys placed two runners in the top 20, four in the top 35 and finished fourth in their race with 134 points.

Daniel Gladen and Quinton Thornton were the Raiders’ two fastest runners. Gladen was 11th overall at 17:16.54 and Thornton was 19th at 17:38.37.

With all 10 of his runners coming in under 19:38, Hood, a 10-year coaching veteran, said “they just went down as the greatest boys team I’ve ever coached.”

Ohatchee finished seventh. The Indians scored 192 points, tied with Madison Academy, but their sixth runner finished higher. In fact, their sixth and seventh finishers were faster than the Mustangs’ fifth.

Blake Noah (17:56.21) and Tristan Woodall (18:02.20) were Ohatchee’s fastest.

“I’m proud of these guys having lost their top two runners and getting seventh in the state,” Indians coach Casey Howell said. “We will get after it this summer. We will be better next year.”

Class 5A

Alexandria’s Abby Nunnelly had just crossed the finish line and without breaking stride headed straight for the exit. The briskness of her pace seemed to suggest she couldn’t get off the course fast enough.

In a closing stretch that featured more bumping and banging than the final laps of a NASCAR race, last year’s race runnerup finished third in the girls 5A race.

With eighth-grade race winner Isabel Valenzuela of St. Paul’s finishing more than a minute ahead of the pack, Nunnelly and Randolph’s Zoe Evans were left to battle for second. The banging in the final half-mile provided Evans enough separation to cross in 19:33.34, just ahead of Nunnelly’s 19:34.56.

“I’ll get her next time,” the Valley Cubs’ freshman said. “It made me mad a little bit, but I tried to get it out of my head and finish strong.”

Nunnelly’s third-place finish helped the Cubs tie for third in the team standings with St. Paul’s. Lawrence County won it for the second year in a row, three points ahead of Evans’ Randolph team. Two points separated them last year.

“We ran hard, we did the best we could do; it is what it is,” Alexandria coach Phillip Hartsfield said. “We were just trying to do better than we did last year (fourth).

“We knew we were going to be on that bubble between third and fourth. I had no idea it was going to be that close. For our purpose we did better than we did last year.”

The Valley Cubs finished seventh as a team on the boys’ side. Lane Trapp finished ninth overall in his final high school meet, running in 17:06.59.

Trapp went out quickly and led the race for a good part of the first mile. But the chase pack picked up their pace and the Cubs’ senior was eventually passed by the eight runners he finished behind.

“I’d like to think I was getting faster, but they were getting faster-er,” Trapp said. “I was going for the gold. If you’re not trying to win, why do it? I knew the chances were slim, but that’s what I was going for.”

Two-time county champion Zebebee Lunsford of Anniston finished 24th in his final high school race (17:45.32). Sophomore teammate Tony White was 54th overall (18:41.91).

Class 4A

Two-time county girls champion Rebecca Hearn was happy to break 20 minutes for the second time this year but “that’s about the only thing I’m happy about.”

Hearn, who finished fifth here last year, ran 19:51.69 and finished seventh. She felt good about her position in the top five through the first mile and held it through the second, but was passed Presley Miles of St. James and Jaycee Biffle of Rogers “out of nowhere” and couldn’t catch them through the elevated finish.

“I was like, ‘Did I miss something?’ she said. “I wasn’t really ready for that.”

Nobody was catching the race winner. Amaris Tyynismaa of Catholic-Montgomery ran under 18 for the second year in a row. Her 17:52.25 was the best among the 815 total girls at the meet and she won by almost a full minute.

The White Plains girls, in the state meet for the first time as a team, finished 10th, beating their team average time by 17 seconds. Chasity Nelson (23:25.83), the Lady Wildcats’ fastest finisher, Lainey Martin (27:29.67) and Grey Young (28:31.52) all ran personal bests. Nelson missed the school record by 19 seconds.

“The fact we came here as a team for the first time was exciting; to do what we did is very encouraging,” White Plains coach Krista Young said.

Isaiah Verde ran his personal best (19:56.61) for the White Plains boys.

Alexandria's Abby Nunnelly tries to chase down Randolph's Zoe Evans in a contentious close for second in the Class 5A girls race.

Alexandria’s Abby Nunnelly tries to chase down Randolph’s Zoe Evans in a contentious close for second in the Class 5A girls race.

at Oakville Indian Mounds Park

Girls Race

Team winner: St. Bernard, 48. Race winner: Ivy Edge, St. Bernard, 19:30.61. Local runners: 82. Presley Whitten, Faith Christian, 24:56.88.

Boys Race
Team winner: Cold Springs, 32. Race winner: Dylan Pausic, Shades Mountain Christian, 16:20.40. Local runners: 38. Callen Bone, Faith Christian, 18:36.43; 39. Jack Sills, Faith Christian, 18:38.67.

Boys Race

Team scores: 1. American Christian 56, 2. Montgomery Academy 67, 3. Cottage Hill 88, 4. Pleasant Valley 134, 5. Winfield 157, 6. T.R. Miller 189, 7. Ohatchee 192, 8. Madison Academy 192, 9. Lauderdale County 196, 10. Holly Pond 246, 11. Lexington 258. Race winner: Ash Midyett, Bayside Academy, 16:23.16.

Local runners: 11. Daniel Gladen, Pleasant Valley, 17:16.54; 19. Quinton Thornton, Pleasant Valley, 17:38.37; 32. Blake Noah, Ohatchee, 17:56.21; 34. Tristan Woodall, Ohatchee, 18:02.20; 49. Caleb Kirk, Pleasant Valley, 18:43.69; 50. Coleman Haynes, Pleasant Valley, 18:44.03; 57. Brennan Wink, Ohatchee, 18:51.94; 59. Jacob Gladen, Pleasant Valley, 18:53.69; 60 Isaiah Rodriguez, Pleasant Valley, 18:54.87; 65. Gabe Hammonds, Ohatchee, 19:07.43; 72. Balin Littlejohn, Pleasant Valley, 19:16.12; 77. Skyler Mcleod, Pleasant Valley, 19:21.29; 83. Nick Robbins, Pleasant Valley, 19:36.02; 84. Riley Vernon, Pleasant Valley, 19:37.41; 99. Houston Walker, Ohatchee, 20:00.18; 102. Brian Jennings, Ohatchee, 20:13.63; 103. Bryant Dunaway, Ohatchee, 20:13.84; 118. Austin Wyatt, Ohatchee, 21:28.47; 126. Carson Stone, Ohatchee, 22:05.25; 130. Luke Fair, Ohatchee, 22:21.24.

Girls Race

Team scores: 1. Wilson 54, 2. Rogers 69, 3. West Limestone 73, 4. Catholic-Montgomery 82, 5. UMS-Wright 104, 6. West Blocton 121, 7. Westminster Christian 229, 8. Trinity Presbyterian 246, 9. J.B. Pennington 265, 10. White Plains 282, 11. Sipsey Valley 284, 12. Oneonta 322. Race winner: Amaris Tyynismaa, Catholic-Montgomery, 17:52.25.

Local runners: 7. Rebecca Hearn, Jacksonville, 19:51.69; 52. Mary Shelton, Jacksonville, 22:55.11; 65. Chasity Nelson, White Plains, 23:25.83; 78. Briar Poytress, White Plains, 24:09.66; 79. Savannah Yates, White Plains, 24:09.72; 87. Megan Crossley, White Plains, 24:40.09; 94. Gracie Morgan, White Plains, 25:12.96; 113. Shelby Ausborn, Jacksonville, 27:18.74; 115. Lainey Martin, White Plains, 27:29.67; 120. August Poytress, White Plains, 28:04.01; 123. Grey Young, White Plains, 28:31.52.

Boys Race
Team winner: Trinity Presbyterian, 64. Race winner: Ryan Ford, Westminster, 15:50.48. Local runners: 60. Will Lee, White Plains, 18:48.06; 78. Kevin Barajas, Jacksonville, 19:28.10; 84. Matthew Moore, White Plains, 19:33.98; 96. Isaiah Verde, White Plains, 19:56.61.

Girls Race

Team scores: 1. Lawrence County 41, 2. Randolph 44, 3. St. Paul’s 103, 4. Alexandria 103, 5. Helena 131, 6. Boaz 219, 7. St. John Paul II 221, 8. Russellville 223, 9. Alabama Christian 243, 10. Shelby County 245, 11. Moody 272. Race winner: Isabel Valenzuela, St. Paul’s, 18:23.14.

Local runners: 3. Abby Nunnelly, Alexandria, 19:34.56; 11. Chloe Brown, Alexandria, 20:11.46; 37. Emily McFarland, Alexandria, 21:43.65; 38. Emily Reaves, Alexandria, 21:44.51; 46. Caroline McFarland, Alexandria, 22:04.55; 64. Sarah Kilgore, Alexandria, 22:46.79; 76. Molly Parker, 23:13.21; 77. Summer Watts, Alexandria, 23:13.70; 78. Destiny Heathcock, Alexandria, 23:13.84.

Boys Race
Team scores: 1. Lawrence County 57, 2. St. John Paul II 71, 3. Beauregard 92, 4. St. Paul’s 105, 5. Randolph 109, 6. Helena 128, 7. Alexandria 225, 8. Alabama Christian 229, 9. Fairview 252, 10. Moody 270, 11. St. Clair County 277, 12. Faith Academy 290. Race winner: Sheldon Britton, Alabama Christian, 16:06.07.

Local runners: 9. Lane Trapp, Alexandria, 17:06.58; 24. Zebedee Lunsford, Anniston, 17:45.32; 41. Dalton Dodd, Alexandria, 18:24.21; 54. Tony White, Anniston, 18:41.91; 69. Luis Rodriguez, Alexandria, 18:59.19; 87. Caleb Wood, Alexandria, 19:23.36; 92. Tyler Thomas, Alexandria, 19:34.10; 120. Jonathan Torres, Alexandria, 21:00.58; 122. Jonathon Shirley, Alexandria, 21:05.05; 123. Case Presley, Alexandria, 21:41.08; 124. Austin Smith, Alexandria, 22:03.46; 125. Cayden Marsh, Alexandria, 22:16.00.

Girls Race

Team winner: John Carroll, 55. Race winner: Mary Grace Strozier, Pelham 18:36.38. Local runners: 56. Amber Dempsey, Oxford, 21:31.67; 59. Madison Reeder, Oxford, 21:34.75.

Boys Race
Team winner: Homewood, 32. Race winner: Dean Dillon, Benjamin Russell, 15:45.71. Local runners: 56. Luke Thomas, Oxford, 17:54.75; 65. Jeremiah Burns, Oxford, 18:01.28; 93. Reed Robinson, Oxford, 18:25.39.

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