E.A. Sports Today

Lapping the field

UPDATED with Miller comment
Miller runs state’s fastest 3A time this season as PV sweeps stacked field in Scottsboro; 3 county teams run at Spain Park

By Al Muskewitz
By East Alabama Sports Today

SCOTTSBORO – Brad Hood hasn’t been this excited about the outcome of a regular-season race in a while or any race, really, outside of Pleasant Valley’s two state championships.

Hood’s Raiders beat a stacked field in the Class 1A-4A small school race of the Scottsboro Invitational Saturday morning. Not just beat it – blew it away.

The two-time state champion and now top-ranked 3A girls placed all five of their counters in the top 15 and scored 49 points; Trinity Roberts finished second individually in 19:55.29.

The boys scored placed four runners in the top 10 and scored 48 points. Matisse Miller won his race in 16:42.09 – the fastest time in Class 3A this year and some 90 seconds faster than his season-opening effort at White Plains.

Saint James finished a distant second to the Raiders in both team races.

“It’s unreal, sweeping the boys and girls in dominant fashion; I haven’t been this excited about anything except county and state,” Hood said. “This is the first big meet we’ve been to with good competition. When I signed up I knew we’d have to really push to have a chance to win it. I was thinking the girls maybe second and the boys maybe second or third. They didn’t just pull it out; they showed out.

“The guys are faster right now than we were the week of state (last year). If I were training them harder and pushing them and putting in more workouts I’d be worried (about peaking too soon), but we’re just doing what we’ve been doing … we’re just doing it better. They just expect to win. They’re just stronger, more mature runners.”

Miller showed that strength in the 1A-4A boys race, winning with a huge kick. He made up some 20 seconds over the final mile, roaring from fifth place to lead the pack across the lead.

“I didn’t think he had a chance to catch that guy; 20 seconds in a mile is a long way, but he went for it,” Hood said. “Matisse said if he could get to 800 he knew none of them had an 800 speed like him.”

In Miller’s two previous races this year ran 18:01.87 at White Plains (second) and 18:14.14 at Noccalula Falls (third). His previous personal best was 17:33 last year at St. Clair County. He recently ran 17:30 on the Pleasant Valley practice course.

“I knew I had it in me; we’ve done tons of speed work,” Miller said. “I really wanted a good time. I’ve never broken 17 in my life. My goal is to break 16 and if I want to do that, by the third or fourth race I needed to get in the mid to upper 16s. I never fathomed I could run that fast.”

In the girls 5A-7A race, Alexandria finished fifth and Oxford was 13th. Junior Abby Nunnelly was the Lady Cubs’ first across the line, finishing eighth in 20:12.93. Tessa Ellison posted Oxford’s best time, 22:35.90, 49th overall.

In the boys 5A-7A race, Oxford finished 14th, two points ahead of Southside-Gadsden, and Alexandria was 18th. Luis Rodriguez was Alexandria’s fastest runner (18:13.58, 44th) and Reed Robinson was Oxford’s first runner across the line (18:11.93, 40th). Southside junior Taylor Nails was 10th in 16:47.85.


HOOVER – Anniston’s James Haynes led all Calhoun County runners across the line at Veterans Park when he hit the tape 8:29.07. He finished 40th overall.

Haynes and Miciah Myles both finished among the top 50 scorers and helped the Bulldogs place 12th as a team. Jacksonville was 25th and Saks was 30th.

Evan Garner was Jacksonville’s fastest runner at 19:54.95 and Jahir Ortiz-Rodriguez was Saks’ fastest runner at 21:02.21.

In the girls race, Mary Shelton finished 50th overall (22:48.71) to help Jacksonville to a 19th-place finish. Katelin Dill was Saks’ fastest runner (27:11.93) as the Lady Wildcats finished 24th.

At Scottsboro High School

Class 1A-4A
Pleasant Valley 49, St. James 75, West Limestone 104, St. Bernard 126, Pisgah 137, Rogers 142, Hatton 170, Brindlee Mountain 204, Westminster Christian 209, Winfield 273, Athens Bible 280, Glencoe 314, Cedar Bluff 355, North Jackson 396.

TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS: Presley Miles, St. James 19:36.82; Trinity Roberts, Pleasant Valley 19:55.29; Cassidy Winter, West Limestone 20:38.78; Leahrose Mami, St. Bernard 20:55.68; Katie Serrato, West Limestone 21:17.65; Rachel Faucett, Pleasant Valley 21:45.17; Ava Akridge, Cold Springs 21:52.62.

Others in top 20: 12. Emma Hood, Pleasant Valley 22:11.35; 14. Gracie Hood, Pleasant Valley 22:31.49; 16. Juliana Ballew, Pleasant Valley 22:50.39.

Class 5A-7A
Mountain Brook 25, Fort Payne 76, James Clemens 111, Arab 155, Alexandria 186, Scottsboro 201, Thompson 205, Florence 215, Cullman 241, St. John Paul II 267, Guntersville 316, Southside-Gadsden 324, Oxford 327, Bob Jones 335, Albertville 383, Athens 440, Austin 521, Decatur 555, Douglas 569.

TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS: Mary Claire Ridgeway, Florence 18:16.67; McKenzie Hogue, Thompson 19:03.24; Anna Balzli, Mountain Brook 19:25.18; Tessa Allen, Mountain Brook 19:53.99; Lily Hulsey, Mountain 20:06.81; Mary Alison Anderson, Mountain Brook 20:10.47; Elizabeth Robertson, Mountain Brook 20:10.98, Abby Nunnelly, Alexandria 20:12.93; Mollie Sanderson, Fort Payne 20:13.12; Elizabeth Holcomb, James Clemens 20:13.67.

Class 1A-4A
Pleasant Valley 48, St. James 98, Winfield 116, St. Bernard 128, Hatton 146, Cold Springs 149, Rogers 185, Brindlee Mountain 208, Athens Bible 218, Pisgah 231, Westbrook Christian 300, Skyline 358, West Limestone 359, Cedar Bluff 429, New Hope 438, West Morgan 462, Glencoe 463, Tanner 521, Section 587, North Jackson 628.

TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS: Matisse Miller, Pleasant Valley 16:42.09; Andrew Sweeney, St. Bernard 16:48.92; Davis Holdbrooks, Winfield 16:51.19; Jake Maddox, St. James 17:04.57; Kagen Sutton, Hatton 17:20.52; Beck Wilkes, Winfield 17:41.81; Jacob Gladen, Pleasant Valley 17:52.36; Raleigh Stamps, Rogers 18:12.75; Skyler Mcleod, Pleasant Valley 18:22.10; Dekota Roberts, Pleasant Valley 18:22.34.

Class 5A-7A
Mountain Brook 60, Cullman 63, Scottsboro 91, Thompson 114, Albertville 204, James Clemens 238, Florence 238, St. John Paul II 242, Brewer 261, Decatur 277, Guntersville 301, Fort Payne 339, Bob Jones 355, Oxford 378, Southside-Gadsden 380, Athens 381, Arab 458, Alexandria 493, Gadsden City 522, Austin 539, Douglas 680.

On the cover: Pleasant Valley’s Matisse Miller (L) sprints to the lead in the season-opening meet at White Plains. Miller posted the fastest cross country time in Class 3A Saturday in Scottsboro. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

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