On the last date to qualify for next weekend's state championships, several Alabama athletes fully capitalized on the opportunity by not only getting marks, but ensuring top seeds as well.
Oriana Carter of Ramsay and Ladedria Taylor of Central-Tuscaloosa used the finals of their races to finally unseed Hoover's Erica Russ as the state's top 55m runner and 55m hurdler.
Carter, who will compete in 5A, took the state's top 55m spot with a 7.32 in the finals, while Taylor strode through 55 meters and five barriers in 8.83 seconds to claim distinction as the state's top hurdler.
Also setting new standards, American Christian Academy runner Joy Griffith bettered her own state-leading 3200m time from 11:21 to 11:16. Mountain Brook's Amanda Tucker (5' 3"), Whitney Marsh (18' 5"), and Mary Kathryn Harbert (11' 3") each bettered their marks in the high jump, long jump, and pole vault, respectively, heading into state competition.
In men's action, Clay County's one-man distance powerhouse Brandon Smith paced 9:34 for the 3200m to reclaim the top time in the event. Defending 6A 800m champion and state record-holder Chris Patrick was already in state meet form a week early, cruising to a time of 1:56.01, good enough to lead his race by over five seconds and to now lead the state by over three.
In the field, Markus Manson of Hillcrest lengthened his state performance lead in the long jump to the tune of 22+ feet, and Minor leaper Jonathan Webb equalled Jamaal McClinton's high jump mark by clearing 6' 6".
NEW! 2003 INDOOR PERFORMANCE LISTS