E.A. Sports Today

Narrow margin

Boys teams from White Plains, Pleasant Valley miss finishing higher in their respective races by 1-2 points

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
 
OAKVILLE – Jake Moore came to the finish line as runner-up in Class 4A boys championship race after leading for a good portion of the race, but instead of lamenting what might have been the junior’s thoughts immediately turned to his White Plains teammates for a big finish for the team.
 
“A little disappointed, but I’m all right with second,” the White Plains junior said. “I just hope the other people on my team did good so we can maybe win.”
 
The county champion Wildcats made a push, but in the end they finished third in Class 4A, two points behind UMS-Wright for the runner-up trophy.
 
The Wildcats put two counters in the top 10 – Moore and No. 8 Kayd Hightower – and all five in the top 25 for 74 points. Saint John Paul II won with 60 points.
 
Interestingly, the Moore had won the race, the Wildcats would have tied with UMS-Wright, but they would’ve still finished third in the tiebreaker. UMS-Wright’s sixth runner finished 34, well ahead of White Plains’ No. 6.
 
“You can’t ask for anything more, they poured their heart on the track today; I’m super proud of them,” White Plains coach John Moore said. “Any time you run a 16:53 (team average) and take third, that would’ve won 1A-2A and 3A; that’s a solid time. We’re just in a tough division.
 
“Every one of these boys go out thinking what could I have done different. Every point matters. Right now, they’re hurting and there’s nothing I can say to them that’s going to take that hurt away. I told them I love them and then I used that quote from John Wooden that success is never forever and failure is never fatal. You’re not going to die from this. I could analyze it to death, but, really, they did everything they could do. All you want in the end is your best against everybody else’s best and I think we had that today.”
 
Hightower said “we gave our hardest, but in the end, they had a better race. We’ll be back next year. I’m upset, but I’m just ready for next year, to come back.”
 
Jake Moore was leading the race at the two-mile mark despite his mile and two-mile times being a shade slower than his pace at the sectionals last week. Joseph Perry of UMS-Wright passed him with a little less than a mile to go and held the lead through the finish. Perry won in 15:55.67. Moore ran 16:02.41.
 
“He had a little bit of a kick at the end,” Moore said. “I thought he wasn’t going to kick that much but I should’ve started kicking at the end before I did. I should’ve reeled him in faster. When he passed me I was just thinking I’ve got over a half-mile I can maybe reel him in. He had more left in the tank than I did.”
 
Pleasant Valley’s defending 3A boys champs finished fourth with 105 points, one behind third-place St. Bernard. The Raiders had four runners in the top 30 counters and their 4 and 5 both finished ahead of St. Bernard’s No. 4, but the Saints got 13 points out of their first two compared to 24 from PV. St. Michael and Bayside Academy were 1-2. The Raiders were the only public school in the top eight.
 
“I knew all season 3A was going to be wide open,” PV coach Brad Hood said. “We could’ve been anywhere from first to sixth today. It wasn’t like White Plains was chasing a team that was almost untouchable and they gave them at battle. 3A was just so evenly spread; it was just who was going to show up today.
 
“At the one-mile mark our top six was ahead of anybody’s 4. That’s good, but that’s bad; you’ve still got about two miles left. We ran out of gas. They went out way too hot. They went for it, but I think they went out a little hot.”
 
As for the other Calhoun County teams at the event, Ohatchee’s girls were fifth in 1A-2A; White Plains and Jacksonville were 5-6, respectively, in 4A girls; Alexandria’s girls were 11thin 5A and PV’s girls were sixth in 3A.

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