E.A. Sports Today

LAMP shines in twilight

Montgomery school scores boys, girls individual winners, boys team title in Wildcat Twilight Invite; PV wins girls team race, boys second

LAMP’s Kathy Hammond is moments from hitting the finish line in the Wildcats Twilight Invite girls race. On the cover, Brett Bonikowski wins the boys race to complete a LAMP sweep.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

The last two Novembers, Pleasant Valley’s boys cross country team has walked up to the podium after a long run to collect a red state runnerup trophy. The Raiders are aiming for blue this year.

Even though they finished second in Thursday night’s Wildcat Twilight Invite at White Plains, Raiders coach Brad Hood was excited about the prospects.

The Raiders finished behind Class 4A power LAMP by nine points without their No. 2 runner in the lineup. They put three runners in the top 10, all running in the 18s.

PV’s girls won their race, edging Alexandria by three points.

The PV boys were led by Skyler Mcleod’s fifth-place finish. Eighth-grader Caden Nelson, who ran for White Plains last year and shattered his PR set on this course late last season by more than a minute, and Coleman Haynes also finished in the top 10. All five of LAMP’s counters placed in the top 15 and its sixth was 16th.

“The whole culture, the whole mindset, of this group is about getting better for state,” Hood said. “They have one goal and that’s to hold that blue trophy up instead of carrying the red one around.

“They got a taste of the red one the two last years and they’re ready for the blue one, and they put in the miles this summer. Every runner was probably 15 to 20 percent faster than they were this time last year. I’m excited.”

LAMP swept the individual races with junior Kathy Hammond winning the girls race (20:46.56) and senior Brett Bonikowski winning the boys race (17:22.71). Both won their respective races in the Montevallo Early Bird Twilight race last week.

Alexandria’s Abby Nunnelly was second in the girls race (21:30.03), ahead of PV’s Trinity Roberts (21:54.13), Ohatchee’s Jayda Fair (23:53.26) and Alexandria’s Michaela Moore (24:01.63) in the top five.

“It was a much faster course than last week,” Hammond said. “I didn’t do as well as I wanted last week so I just wanted to leave it all out there and have no regrets. I prayed before this race that God would let me push myself.”

Ohatchee’s Gabe Hammonds was second in the boys race (17:45.21), ahead of Alexandria’s Luis Rodriguez (17:52.06), LAMP’s Jack Porter (18:18.35) and PV’s Skyler Mcleod (18:20.51).

The girls race was close. The Lady Raiders, missing three of their top seven runners from a year ago, placed their counters 3-6-7-12-13, while Alexandria went 2-5-8-14-15.

Charles Martin, who founded the PV girls program and is overseeing their training for Hood this season, learned a lesson about counting chickens a long time ago. He refused to claim victory until the results were officially calculated even though his race calculations had the Lady Raiders winning by the same margin they did.

“It was the state meet, maybe in 2000,” Martin recalled. “They posted the results and I looked up and saw first place. I wasn’t going to say anything to the girls but I was so danged excited about it I couldn’t stand it and said ‘Guess who won this thing?’

“I thought I’d get a program and went up there and heard them say they had to re-do (the standings), that they were wrong. They forgot to pull out the non-team runners. When they did, everything jumped up. We would’ve won by three, but ended up losing by three.

“I learned a valuable lesson that day. I will never ever tell another team that we’ve done everything until they announce it, because those girls were just devastated. They went from jubilation to tears in a matter of seconds, and I felt so guilty.”


Team scores: LAMP 42, Pleasant Valley 51, Ohatchee 83, White Plains 111, Jacksonville 143, Alexandria 154, Asbury 172, Clay Central 257, Saks 263, Handley 271, Donoho 316, Faith Christian 321.

Top 15 individuals
Brett Bonikowski, LAMP 17:22.71
Gabe Hammonds, Ohatchee 17:45.21
Luis Rodriguez, Alexandria 17:52.06
Jack Porter, LAMP 18:18.35
Skyler Mcleod, Pleasant Valley 18:20.51
Blake Noah, Ohatchee 18:22.57
Caden Nelson, Pleasant Valley 18:27.46
Coleman Haynes, Pleasant Valley 18:34.91
Luke Larson, White Plains 18:43.63
Seba Bakoyema, LAMP 18:51.57
Jake Moore, White Plains 18:56.64
Lance Phung, LAMP 18:57.17
Luke Fair, Ohatchee 18:59.81
Kaige Roberts, Pleasant Valley 19:04.03
Alex Varghese, LAMP 19:17.32

Team scores: Pleasant Valley 41, Alexandria 44, White Plains 77, Ohatchee 90, LAMP 99, Saks 211, Jacksonville 231, Clay Central 238, Randolph County 242, Asbury 291, Handley 292.

Top 15 individuals
Kathy Hammond, LAMP 20:46.56
Abby Nunnelly, Alexandria 21:30.03
Trinity Roberts, Pleasant Valley 21:54.13
Jayda Fair, Ohatchee 23:53.26
Michaela Moore, Alexandria 24:01.63
Kaylee Austin, Pleasant Valley 24:08.84
Juliana Ballew, Pleasant Valley 24:10.42
Michaela Watts, Alexandria 24:17.51
Savannah Griffin, White Plains 24:18.15
Camden Wilson, White Plains 24:48.46
Savannah Yates, White Plains 24:29.59
Eva Bryant, Pleasant Valley 24:32.57
Emma Hood, Pleasant Valley 24:46.89
Alyssa Mosley, Alexandria 25:10.08
Katie Snow, Alexandria 25:11.35

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