SCOTTSBORO - It didn't take Hoover High School senior Jeremy Moujoodi long to take over leadership of the Buccaneer boys cross country team. Moujoodi spurted to an early lead and held it for the entire race to pace Hoover past Scottsboro in a dual meet that was the first race for each team. In the girls race, defending Class 5A state champion Caitlin Chitwood took first place to lead Scottsboro, the top ranked team in the Southeast, to the victory.
In a race matching defending Class 6A champion Hoover against the defending 5A champion Wildcats, Moujoodi felt like it was necessary to have a fast start.
"I told myself I had to take it out at the beginning since there weren't many people in the race," said Moujoodi, who is looking to take over the leadership of a Hoover team that lost its top two runners from last season. Moujoodi finished the 2.1 mile race at 10:37.
"I didn't feel as good as I was planning," Moujoodi said. "My first mile was good, but I slowed way down after that. It was really hot and windy, but considering the conditions, it was a good start to the season."
Moujoodi was immediately followed by Hoover's Timothy Landry (10:53) and Stephen Payne (11:05), as the Bucs scored 18 points to Scottsboro's 43.
Chitwood, who finished at 12:32, said she was also affected by the heat in the girls race.
"We're used to running when it's hot, but I guess it feels hotter in a race," Chitwood said. "I tried to full-out sprint because we've been running too long over the summer. Man, that was a reality check."
Chitwood was followed by Scottsboro's Lacey Wright (12:35) and Hoover's Nicole Muldowney (12:39) as Scottsboro topped Hoover 24-33.
Hoover coach Devon Hind said it was a good start to the year.
"I'm pleased with both our girls and our guys," Hind said. "The Scottsboro girls are a great team, and we got four runners in before they did. Now we have nine weeks to find a fifth runner.
"The guys are not happy with their times, but that's a good sign. It means they want to improve."