Coach Blake Borden talks to his team prior to their race.
Cool temperatures and a light rain made Saturday feel like a perfect cross country morning at the Chickasaw Trails Invitational at the Historic Oakville Indian Mounds.
The morning kicked off with the Small Schools Varsity Girls Race. Auldyn Plant, the senior from the University School of Nashville, won by nearly 50 seconds in 19:57. Whitesburg Christian Academy, led by junior Emily Driskill, won the team race with 69 points. Coach Angela Fortier had this to say about the Lady Warriors, "I am extremely proud of our runners and how they competed at the Chickasaw Trails Invitational. We have a deep team of girls and I really enjoy watching them push each other to get better individually and as a team. Chickasaw is a great race to run early in the season because it always has fantastic competition, and our team is going to keep working hard as we look ahead to the remainder of the season."
Cold Springs finished second with 82 points and Priceville was third with 145 points.
In the Large School Varsity Boys Race, Ethan Edgeworth continued his dominance winning in 15:12. Beech Senior High School traveled from Hendersonville, Tennessee to win the team race with 85 points. Huntsville finished second with 97 points and Vestavia Hills finished third with 107 points.
The real surprise was Huntsville's Eric Moore getting second in a massive PR of 15:19. Coach Blake Borden had this to say, "It's pretty simple: he's healthy, happy, and hungry. Last year he broke his toe in a freak accident playing sand volleyball in July, so he didn't run much in August. We had to take it very light most of September, so he really only had about one real month and ran 16:03. Without that happening he was poised to be a sub 16 guy last year. I couldn't be happier for him. Great all-around kid and he loves his teammates. [I'm] excited to see him progress."
Coming in third was Henry Strand from Vestavia Hills. Henry, the younger brother of former Alabama star Ethan Strand, continues to blossom into a successful runner. His coach, Katherine Terino, had this to say, "Henry has been itching to run some cross country races. He had a lot of setbacks last falls, so his race was incredibly rewarding for him. He had a great track season, so it was good to see him healthy and keep the momentum rolling. He is going to be a huge asset to what this boys team can accomplish this year and we're very excited to see him confident. Henry showed a lot of people what he's capable of especially close to the finish. So don't count him out as the season progresses."
In the Small School Boys Race, Harris Strang from Altamont won in 16:31. The sophomore ran very close to where he finished last year, but nearly 40 seconds faster than where he started last season. He said, "It felt great to start my season with a win. My goal going into that race was to get first, but I knew that there were some fast guys in my race, so I made a plan and was able to execute it and reach my goal. My teammates also had a great day with several setting big PRs. That put us in second place in our division which was exciting and gives us a lot of momentum moving forward. As for me, winning gave me some confidence because I'm right where I wanted to be at the start of the season."
Pleasant Valley won with 88 points with Hatton getting second and Cold Springs third.
In the Large School Girls Race, Savannah Williams from Lawrence County defended her home course running a PR of 18:25. She led the way for Lawrence County's first ever Chickasaw team win. Vestavia's Claire Spooner outkicked Katie Mae Coan for second. Coach Terino said this about Spooner, "Claire had a great summer of training. She was looking forward to seeing where she stood against some of the older girls in the state that have been big names for a while. She ran a super patient race and genuinely surprised herself with where her fitness is at. We're looking forward to see how much more she improves this fall and how she can help the team improve on last year's finish."
Lawrence County won with 88 points, followed by Mountain Brook with 77, and Chelsea with 109.