Several perform well at Chickasaw XC meet

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

OAKVILLE – The Chickasaw Invitational always marks the first major cross country event each season, and yet again in 2020, the event went on and was as good as usual with five local schools competing in the meet.

The event was divided up into two divisions, the large school meet and the small school meet. Spain Park, Oak Mountain, Chelsea and Helena all competed in the large school portion, while Westminster at Oak Mountain competed in the small school portion.

In the boys’ large school race, Oak Mountain finished fourth in the team standings, while Spain Park finished ninth, Helena finished 13th and Chelsea finished 15th out of 43 total teams.

With more than 200 runners from across the Southeast competing in the race, Oak Mountain’s Walker Cole wasn’t deterred, as the senior finished third with a time of 15:30.79. His speedy finish was one of the biggest highlights of the event for local athletes.

Also standing out was Chelsea junior Miles Brush, who finished fifth with a time of 15:45.04 and was one of six runners to finish the meet in less than 16 minutes.

Beyond that, Helena and Spain Park both had top 15 finishes with Brady Barton finishing 13th behind a time of 16:29.90 for the Huskies and Keith Warner finishing 14th with a time of 16:30.73 for the Jaguars.

For Oak Mountain, the Eagles also had three other runners finish inside the top 50. Hunter Wright was the highest of those finishers, taking home 21st with a time of 16:44.84. Behind him, Reese Bell finished 32nd with a time of 17:04.88, while Noah Arrington finished 46th with a time of 17:25.66.

Spain Park’s Kenneth Bishop, Chelsea’s Thomas Ludwig and Helena’s Aspen Warren all had noteworthy performances as well.

Bishop finished 34th for the Jags with a time of 17:05.66, Ludwig finished 39th for the Hornets with a time of 17:05.66 and Warren finished 55th for the Huskies with a time of 17:33.04.

As for the smaller school boys race, Westminster at Oak Mountain finished fifth out of 21 teams thanks in large part to Micah Adams claiming sixth in the individual standings with a time of 18:07.98.

Teammate Andrew Purcell finished just a few spots lower in 13th with a time of 18:30.23.

The Knights also had two others in the top 50 with Alexander Montgomery finishing 42nd with a time of 20:02.59 and David Haskins finishing 50th with a time of 20:12.11.

The girls races also saw several standout performances with the Oak Mountain Eagles also finishing highest of all local teams in that event.

The Eagles placed 12th, while Chelsea finished 17th and Helena claimed 26th.

The highest individual finisher in the girls race featuring a Shelby County runner came from Chelsea’s Cady McPhail. The sophomore finished in 11th with a time of 19:28.79.

Oak Mountain, however, had the most consistency. The Eagles didn’t have anybody in the top 49, but had three finish between 50th and 70th in an event featuring close to 200 runners.

Emma Grace Phillips was the highest finisher for Oak Mountain in 50th with a time of 21:11.46, while Laruen Cole finished 53rd thanks to a time of 21:18.86 and Katie Wright finished 70th with a time of 21:56.71.

In the small school girls race, Westminster at Oak mountain finished sixth in the team standings thanks to an impressive showing from Hallie Porterfield.

The senior posted a time of 20:27.40 in the race to finish in second place just less than a minute behind the winner.

Also putting together an impressive performance was seventh grader Ava Gray, who finished 22nd with a time of 23:24.92.

Not too far below that was freshman Natalie Porterfield, who finished 30th behind a time of 23:59.18.