Story by Josh Bean for the AHSAA
Photos by al.com
MONTGOMERY – High school runners target the Jesse Owens Classic as a critical race for two reasons: It is run on the same course as the AHSAA State championships and it draws a field filled with many of the best runners from around the Southeast.
That’s why the performances turned in by Chelsea High School’s Miles Brush and Vestavia Hills’ Crawford West stood out even more than usual and put them in this week’s AHSAA Cross Country Spotlight.
Brush won the Boys’ Gold Division 3,000-meter feature race at Saturday’s meet at Oakville Indian Mounds Park in 15:10.47, his fastest time of the season and more than 11 seconds faster than his winning Class 6A time at the 2020 AHSAA Cross Country Championships. Brush also won the Shelby County Championship two weeks ago.
West also won the Girls’ Gold Division feature race with a time of 17:48.47, while Auburn’s Abby Merner was fifth in 18:12.47 and Chelsea’s Cady McPhail finished sixth in 18:24.56.
Also in the Boys’ Gold Division, Mac Conwell of St. Paul’s Episcopal was second crossing six seconds behind Brush at 15:16.27. UMS-Wright’s Joseph Perry was fourth in 15:17, and Auburn’s Maxwell Hardin ran fifth in 15:21.72.
Scottsboro won the Boys’ Gold Division team title and Hoover was second. On the girls’ side, Brentwood (TN) won the Girls’ Gold Division team title, with Auburn finished third as the highest-finishing Alabama team.
The Jesse Owens Classic featured five divisions for varsity runners with more than 2,500 runners. Here’s a look at other divisions:
GIRLS’ SILVER: Auburn’s Rylee Plexico finished as the top Alabama runner in sixth, with a time of 19:08.05. Scottsboro won the team title with three of top 14 runners, and Fort Payne was second.
GIRLS’ BRONZE: UMS-Wright freshman Mallory Helms was third in 20:17.55 and Bayside Academy freshman Catherine Doyle was fourth in 20:17.68. Bayside won the team title with three runners in top 18. St. John Paul II was second.
GIRLS’ GREEN: St. Bernard’s Madilyn Kerber finished runner-up in 20:29.17, and Altamont’s Frances Overton was third in 20:32.87. Altamont won the team title four runners in the top nine, while Cold Springs was second.
GIRLS’ RED: Northridge’s Linley Byars finished second in 21.01.48. Webb School (TN) won the team title, with Scottsboro second.
BOYS’ BRONZE: Munford’s Dakota Frank finished second in 16:43.49, less than a second behind winner Austin Cason of University School of Nashville (TN). Westminster Christian’s Seth Peebles was third in 17:07.29. University School won the team title and Lincoln was second.
BOYS’ SILVER: Opelika’s Chas Brewer, Alabama’s fastest runner, finished eighth in 16:54.26. Hoover finished third and Briarwood Christian sixth in the team standings.
BOYS’ GREEN: Pleasant Valley’s Cayden Nelson won his division race with a time of 16:40.24, followed by Altamont’s Harris Strang, who crossed second (17:03.46). Altamont’s Jack Nichols was third (17:14.66). Harding Academy (TN) won the team title and Trinity Presbyterian placed five runners in the top 21 to take second.
BOYS RED: Hoover’s Zachary Lamb ran 17:34.69 to finish runner-up, less than two seconds behind Brentwood (TN)’s Jackson White. Hoover also finished second in the team race.
Other top performances reported last week by www.alabamarunners.com:
AVA McINTOSH, HUNTSVILLE: Won the 5A-7A race at the Lake Guntersville Invitational in 18:49.43, and teammate Sarah Cobb was runner-up in 18:58.48. Huntsville took the team title.
MADDYN CONN, WHITE PLAINS: The freshman won the 1A-4A race at the Lake Guntersville Invitational, finishing in 19:16.79, nearly a minute ahead of teammate Anna Strickland (20:12.41). White Plains won the team title. Conn and Strickland also finished 1-2 at the Bulldog Twilight in Anniston.
CLARK STEWART, MOUNTAIN BROOK: Ran 19:56.28 to win the Veterans Park Elite 8 in Hoover to lead the Spartans to the team title. Spain Park was second.
DELANEY HART, FAIRHOPE: Finished eighth – the fastest Alabamian – at the T.R. Miller Challenge in Brewton. She finished in 22:03.97, as Pensacola Christian (FL) took the team title and the Pirates finished second.
AUDREY SULLIVAN, FOLEY: Won the Foley XC Invitational in 22:37.84, nearly a minute ahead of teammate Mya Stewart (23.41.51). Foley swept the top five spots to win the three-team meet.
McKENZIE McANNALLY, GARDENDALE: Ran 23:08.40 to win the Hueytown Invitational by nearly two minutes over McAdory’s Elissia Acoff (25.26.13). Gardendale won the team title.
JACKSON HARRIS, HUNTSVILLE: Ran 15:52.62 to win the 5A-7A race at the Lake Guntersville Invitational. The Panthers also took second and third in the race with Matthew Cobb finishing second (16:01.79) and Will Pinson third (16:09.51). Huntsville placed all five scorers in the top nine to take the team title. Bob Jones was runner-up.
JACKSON GRIGGS, SOUTHSIDE-GADSDEN: Edged teammate Luke Holcombe to win the Bulldog Twilight in Anniston by less than a second. Griggs ran 16:31.10 and Holcombe clocked 16:31.90 as Southside won the team title.
KEITH WARNER, SPAIN PARK: Won the Veterans Park Elite 8 in Hoover with a time of 16:46.45, and Hewitt-Trussville’s Mitchell Phillips was second in 16:55.62. Mountain Brook won the team title with three runners in the top six.
JOE STEVENS, ASHVILLE: Won the 1A-4A race at the Lake Guntersville Invitational with a time of 16:55.22, followed by teammatesWyatt Knight (17:21.79) in second and Ashton Vann (17:51.84) in third. Ashville also won the team title.
DAVIS AMARE, FAIRHOPE: The senior ran 17:39.18 to finish third at the T.R. Miller Challenge in Brewton, and Daphne’s Andy Canegitta Jr. was fifth in 18:02.88. Pensacola Christian (FL) won the team title, and Bayshore Christian was second.
XANDER McLAUGHLIN, ORANGE BEACH: The sophomore won the Foley XC Invitational in 17:45.37, but Foley placed four runners in the top eight to take the team title.
AUSTIN STOKES, McADORY: Ran 18:48.79 to win the Hueytown Invitational by more than two minutes over Oak Grove’s Jake Roberts (20:10.68). McAdory won the team title.
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