E.A. Sports Today

State XC

Munford’s Frank, White Plains’ Conn look to repeat as Class 4A champions. White Plains’ boys, girls projected leaders among area teams contending for trophies.

Cover photo: Defending Class 4A state champion Maddyn Conn (Bib 436) hopes to repeat while leading White Plains’ girls to a team state title Saturday in Moulton. (Submitted photo)

Editor’s note: Area team and individual qualifiers listed below.

By Joe Medley
East Alabama Sports Today

White Plains’ Maddyn Conn goes to Saturday’s state cross country meet with hopes beyond simply repeating as Class 4A’s individual champion.

Munford’s Dakota Frank will be more rested this year as he tries to repeat as 4A boys’ champion.

All area team and individual qualifiers will go to Moulton hoping for better than the chill, rain and mud that marred last year’s state meet.

Saturday’s races start with Class 6A girls at 8:30 a.m. on the Jesse Owens Course and end with Class 3A boys, at 12:10 p.m. They also mark the swansongs for two retiring coaches, Alexandria’s Phillip Hartsfield and Donoho’s Hayley Long.

Among are schools, 16 teams qualified with top four finishes at last week’s sectionals. Also qualified are 25 area individuals that don’t run for a team qualifying teams.

Conn and Frank go as returning champions, and White Plains’ boys and girls go as sectional champions.

Munford’s Dakota Frank looks to repeat as the Class 4A individual state champion Saturday in Moulton. (Submitted photo)

Frank, who kicked for Munford’s football team during its playoff game against American Christian the night before last year’s state meet, has Friday night off this year. Munford didn’t make the playoffs.

Frank ran through the rain and mud to finish the 5K course in 16:00.86 in 2022, beating LAMP’s Augustin Lemuz (16:05.52). Alabama Milesplit, which projects virtual meets based on personal records, has Frank beating Providence Christian’s Cole Smith by nearly 27 seconds this year.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Frank said. “I’ve been training hard these past few weeks, and I think I’m ready for it. Hoping conditions will not be too treacherous.”

Weather.com’s Saturday forecast for Moulton calls for a cloudy day with a 19 percent chance of rain, low temperature of 47 degrees and a high of 62.

That would mean good conditions for Conn’s rematch with Providence Christian’s Millicent Talmadge. Conn finished in 18:59.61 in 2022, beating Talmadge by 26.55 seconds.

“I have some good competition, but I’m ready to go out there and get it,” she said.

Conn’s lens spans wider than an individual title.

“I’m excited to see our team’s hard work pay off,” she said. “We’ve all been putting in work, and I’m so proud of each and every one of them. 

“It’s exciting to see how much they want to fight to win.”

Milesplit projections have White Plains’ boys and girls finishing third.

White Plains’ girls have been ranked as highly as No. 1 this season and no lower than No. 3. White Plains coach Chase Cotton foresees a battle between the Wildcats, Providence Christian and Houston Academy.

“I’ve been preparing the girls since before sectionals with, kind of, that mindset that we’re going to be the hunters this weekend,” he said. “It’s going to be up to them to see how many girls they can pass, just trying to close that gap of points that we feel like we have right now.

“It’s going to be tough competition, but the girls have set their sights on this one race all season long. I feel like they’re up to the task.”

Cotton said Providence Christian’s boys look like the prohibitive favorite in 4A, and “everybody else is fighting for second.”

The battle for second likely comes between White Plains, Westminster Christian, Hamilton and LAMP.

“According to the rankings, there were very few points separating the No. 2 through 4 schools,” Cotton said. “We’re right in there, in that mix.

“We feel like we can be competitive for that ‘red map’ this week.”

Area state XC qualifiers

Area teams and individuals who qualified to compete at Saturday’s Alabama High School Athletic Association cross country meet in Moulton. Top four teams and top six individuals not on top six teams at sectionals qualify. Qualifiers listed with sectional finishes.

Teams: Oxford boys (third) and girls (fourth).

Class 5A
Lincoln boys (third), Southside boys (fourth), Southside girls (second), Central-Clay boys (first) and girls (first).
Kammy Buchanan (Alexandria) sixth, 20:50.93
JoJo Watson (Alexandria) ninth, 21:07.24

Class 4A
Teams: White Plains boys (first), Handley boys (third), White Plains girls (first) and Jacksonville girls (second)
Dakota Frank (Munford), first, 16:43.25
Collin Thurman (Jacksonville) 17th, 19:43.94
Rua Mathis (Jacksonville) 23rd, 20:28.47
Samuel Goggins (Jacksonville) 26th, 20:52.73
Josue Garcia (Munford) 30th, 21:04.94
Aubree Frank (Munford) 11th, 23:15.34
Danie Fielder (Munford) 13th, 23:27.50
Georgia Veal (Handley) 18th, 24:09.06
Emilee Diamond (Handley) 22nd, 24:36.89
Cadence Hinson (Handley) 29th, 25:32.92

Class 3A
Teams: Piedmont boys (fourth), Piedmont girls (fourth).
Luke Pilotte (Westbrook Christian) 14th, 19:12.15 
Samuel Neal (Hokes Bluff) 15th, 19:18.79 
Owen Beason (Glencoe) 16th, 19:20.56 
Micah Brasher (Hokes Bluff) 17th, 19:21.50
Gabe Ruffcorn (Ohatchee) 16th, 18:19.80 
Emma Godfrey (Hokes Bluff) fourth, 20:53.77 
Sarah Ponder (Glencoe), sixth, 21:02.13 
Mara Brothers (Hokes Bluff) 25th, 23:55.79
Ashlie Easterwood (Ohatchee) 29th, 23:32.50 
Jay’Onna Cobb (Saks) 35th, 24:15.06

Class 1A-2A
Teams: Pleasant Valley boys (second), Donoho boys (fourth), Faith Christian girls (fourth).
Cameron Rogers (Faith Christian) 9th, 18:09.69 
Zelly Wood (Pleasant Valley) 16th, 24:04.24 
Ellie Medley (Pleasant Valley) 24th, 25:02.61 

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