E.A. Sports Today

Poytress races to first victory

Senior wins Hoover Invitational 1A-5A girls race, White Plains finishes sixth; Wildcats’ boys finish ninth

By East Alabama Sports Today

HOOVER — White Plains senior Briar Poytress ran at 22:40.24 and won the girls 1A-5A & JV race at the Hoover Cross Country Invitational today at Veterans Park for her first career victory.

Poytress was nearly 13 seconds ahead of Heritage Christian freshman Hannah Vandiver at the line. Camden Wilson was the Lady Wildcats’ second fastest across the line at 25:21.87, 29th overall.

“Today was amazing,” Poytress said. “I ran almost two minutes faster today than I did last year at that course, which was insanely thrilling for me.”

As exciting as it was to win, she didn’t realize the significance of the breakthrough until the Lady Wildcats had returned home from the meet.

“I felt great the entire time, which is pretty rare for cross country,” she said. “And I actually hadn’t realized it until I got home, but today was my first career win, which is a big moment for me with this sport.

“I’m always so thankful if I can even place because there’s so much competition, running against roughly 10 teams every meet who usually have at least eight to 10 girls, so I’m super proud of the win today.”

Poytree dominated the race from the start and led wire-to-wire. The Lady Wildcats finished sixth as a team. Hoover JV won the team race by three points over Mountain Brook.

“Nobody gave her a challenge,” White Plains coach John Moore said. “The only one she had was racing the clock and every time she came by I told her to keep her head up, shoulders back because she was running against the clock.

“It’s easy when you don’t have anybody on your tail to slow down. I was there through several points reminding her to focus on what you’re trying to do. I’m very proud of her.”

In the boys race White Plains finished ninth. Luke Larson (19:48.85), Jake Moore (19:52.91) and Cayden Nelson (20:00.27) all finished in the top 40.

“They did exactly what I told them to do — use it as a training run, use this race for sectionals (which will be on this course),” Moore said. “I told them I didn’t care about their time I cared that they learned from this race for what they can use at sectionals.”

The Wildcats return to the course Saturday in their own Wildcat Fall Classic. Fifteen teams have registered, including Alexandria, Anniston, Faith Christian, Jacksonville, JCA, Ohatchee, Oxford and Sacred Heart. It will be their final tune-up for the Calhoun County Championship, Oct. 26, at Oxford Lake.

At Veterans Park, Hoover

1A-5A & JV
Team scores:
Hoover 46, Mountain Brook 49, Homewood 59, Vestavia Hills 124, Oak Mountain 130, WHITE PLAINS 133, Sipsey Valley 203, Clay Central 230. Race winner: Briar Poytress, White Plains 22:40.24.

Team scores:
Mountain Brook 38, Hoover 44, Homewood 102, Vestavia Hills 110, Oak Mountain 116, Thompson 156, Spain Park 175, Tuscaloosa County 248. Race winner: Celie Jackson, Homewood 19:35.30.

1A-5A & JV
Team scores:
Hoover 46, Northside 66, Vestavia Hills 77, Oak Mountain 119, Homewood 127, Sipsey Valley 141, Mountain Brook 155, Spain Park 208, WHITE PLAINS 230, Thompson 273, Clay Central 356, Dadeville 367, Holt 377, Tuscaloosa County 434. Race winner: Tanner King, Northside 16:44.49.

Team scores:
Vestavia Hills 57, Mountain Brook 60, Homewood 82, Hoover 100, Oak Mountain 109, Spain Park 129, Thompson 133, Tuscaloosa County 260. Race winner: James Sweeney, Vestavia Hills 16:03.74.

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