The Mountain Brook Invitational is one of the highlights of every track season in the state of Alabama. This year's edition was no different. 88 teams and 3,040 athletes played a role in a phenomenal two days of track. Below are some of the best moments from the weekend.
Reagan Riley, Mountain Brook:
Reagan Riley finished out her final Mountain Brook Invite with a few memorable performances. She won the mile in 4:53 and took second in the 800m in 2:11. She also was apart of the 4x800m that won in 9:07, which broke a 15 year old MBI record. When speaking of how special Mountain Brook Invite is to her, she said, "MBI is always such an amazing experience, but this year, especially it being my last was so incredible and also bittersweet. Our team is so strong and really on fire for the sport right now so it's always fun to watch them compete and race alongside them! Overall, I was happy with my races and especially happy with my team's 4x800m, as we ran a new school record all on dead legs and really just had so much fun with it!"
Demarion Gardner, Hoover:
Demarion put on a show in the 200m winning in a huge PR of 21.56. He ran 22.26 in the prelims the night before. He also placed second in the 400m with another PR of 48.24. The sophomore knew it was going to be a big weekend and said "Yeah so as soon as I got to the meet I was ready to go. I knew I had some fast competition to compete against. I didn't really worry about it and just put it all on the track and it worked in my favor."
Demarion was one of the many athletes who competed late Friday night and into Saturday morning. He said, "I was tired and ready to go home but it was a fun experience that I've never had before but I just did what I had to do."
Speaking of running the 200m late at night, seconds before midnight, heat 13 of the Men's 200m was underway and mid race the facility lights went out. Huntsville's Lawrence Taylor won the heat amidst the phone lights of the fans. Unfortunately, the heat had to rerun. Roughly 20 minutes later, they were back on the track. . Lawrence described the situation: "Running the 200m was the best experience I have ever had. Having the lights turn off felt like a movie scene and gave me the motivation to keep running. My main emotion for that race was ecstatic, because never in my life have I experience running in the dark, and it just felt like a moment to remember for the rest of my senior year and probably my life too." Lawrence came back in his rerun to run 22.56 and make finals where he ultimately placed 5th in 22.16.
Caroline Sanders, Scottsboro:
Caroline had a great two days of competition. She won the triple jump in 37-08.25. She had a huge PR in the long jump, jumping 18-09.00 for second. She also placed second in the high jump clearing 5'02" and cleared 9'0" in the pole vault. Describing her overall performance from the weekend, she said, "Mountain Brook attracts the top athletes in the state and it's fun competing against people you normally don't get to compete against. We have had a few meets on the colder side and the weather being good allowed me to get a 2 foot pr in triple jump and a 11 inch pr in long jump. Overall a great meet."
As for the rest of the season, she feels this sets her up for another big PR and a good chance to score as many points as possible entering Sectionals and State.
Eric Moore and all the fireworks:
In easily the best race of the weekend, Huntsville's Eric Moore and Cold Springs' Ethan Edgeworth put on a show in the Boys 2 Mile. Edgeworth took it out with a group of Huntsville's Eric Moore, Jackson Harris, and Scottsboro's Evan Hill in a chase pack. Eric flew past Edgeworth in the final 100m to run 9:00.32. Eric said this about the race: "Going into this race I knew that there would be some good competition, so it would be a fun race. During the race, we all started in this one pack for the first lap and then I see Edgeworth start to break away from the pack. I took a risky decision to stay back and to not go with him but instead work with Evan and Jackson. I went through the mile around 431 so I knew that if I wanted to run sub 9 that I would have to pick this last mile up. The third 800 in the race I was feeling tired and lost but then my teammate Jackson came up beside me and led the lap which made me feel good and ready to go. Overall I felt like I have had good training leading up to this race and I was very pleased with the end results." When asked if he expected to run that fast, he said, "Honestly, I was not expecting to run that fast. When I went through the mile, I thought to myself that I could actually break 9, so I really gained a lot of confidence that it was possible."
Max Armstrong, Vestavia Hills:
Max Armstrong continues a very solid season breaking a Mountain Brook Invite 800m record set in the 2005 by Cullman's E.C. Gibbs. Max ran 1:51.68. He also had a huge PR in the mile breaking 4:20 for the first time. He said, "I thought it was a great weekend! Little PR in the 800m and a huge PR in the mile as well. Glad I got to run with good runners and be competitive!" He'll look to hopefully break 1:50 during the rest of the season and even beyond at the RunningLane Track Championships, Music City Distance Carnival, and Nike Nationals.
Why Mountain Brook Invite?
Coach Trent Dean from Cullman shared why he and his Bearcats love coming back every year to the Mountain Brook Invite.
"First, the timing of it is perfect for us as far as a 2-day meet with prelims and finals. We use it like a dress rehearsal in some ways for Sectionals.
Second, the fact that it is unlimited entries allows us to get certain kids perhaps their last chance to prove themselves or or win a spot on a relay, etc. etc.
Third, the depth of competition as well as the environment (reminiscent of Indoor) provides excellent opportunities for the kids to strive for their greatness. Take risks. Perfect time of season to do so as well.
Fourth, I love being around all the coaches and teams that usually come to Mtn Brook. We don't see them often during Outdoor so I look forward to seeing them and being with them.
Fifth, everything about the meet is first class and for me it has become very special becomes my athletes love the meet so they talk about it, look forward to it, and enjoy being there. As the years go by that part means a lot to me. And the fact that it is a late night etc etc actually just creates more special memories with my coaches and athletes.
I have nothing but love for that meet and all the people that make it happen."
We asked people on Instagram their favorite moments from the weekend and shared our favorites below:
@knoel_09 said: "how great the track felt when I ran on it and the great quality of everything. It was beautiful."
@spearvault said: "16'-05" from Junior Colin Pate or the boys 2 mile going out at an insane starting pace"
@hopp_800m said: "the competition!"
@cpjeffcoat said: "broke 2 in the 800m as a freshman"
@gabby.washington_ said: "the girls 400m final"
@d.echols01 said: "leaving at 1am"
@lilylanders_15 said: "PR'ing with a 3:04 in the 800m after not PR'ing for 2 weeks!"