Buck, Collins, Culpepper win individual titles, others local athletes perform well at 7A State Meet

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

GULF SHORES – The Spain Park Jaguars entered the AHSAA Class 7A State Track and Field Meet hopeful for success, and thanks to three individual athletes, they walked away with both their boys and girls teams finishing inside the top 10 of the team standings.

Keon Buck, Mackenzie Culpepper and Anna Collins all won individual championships for the Jaguars as the girls finished seventh in the team standings and the boys ninth.

Locally, the Oak Mountain and Thompson boys both finished inside the top 10 as well, with the Eagles finishing the highest of any team in fifth and the Warriors claiming eighth.

Thompson’s girls finished 17th as a team, while Oak Mountain’s girls finished 20th.

For the Jaguars, Buck was the highlight of the day, winning two individual state championships. The junior won the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.77 seconds and then the 200-meter dash with a time of 21.44 seconds.

He was the only athlete from the county to win two championships, but Culpepper got close in three different events.

Also a junior, Culpepper won the 400-meter dash with a time of 56.75 seconds and also finished on the podium in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 5:05.20 to finish third.

Culpepper then finished fourth in the 800-meter run as well, just missing out on a podium spot with a time of 2:18.31.

She finished just behind teammate Delaney Vickers. A freshman, Vickers finished with a time of 2:18.16 to take home third.

Spain Park got one more state championship from Collins, who took home the girls pole vault title. She cleared 12 feet to win, while second and third place couldn’t get past 11 feet, 6 inches.

Oak Mountain’s boys didn’t have an individual state champion, but the Eagles did have a consistent effort with two individuals finishing on the podium and two relay teams finishing on the podium.

Michael Marvin was the highest individual finisher for the Eagles after claiming second in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:54.13.

Walker Cole added a podium finish in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 9:14.01, while he also finished second in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 4:16.54.

The Eagles also finished second in the 4X800-meter relay with a time of 7:52.41, which finished just behind Vestavia Hill’s time of 7:52.23 and just ahead of Hewitt-Trussville’s time of 7:52.43.

They also took home third in the 4X400-meter relay with a time of 3:23.12, which finished behind Vestavia’s time of 3:23.05 and Hoover’s time of 3:21.05.

Thompson just missed out on an individual champion, but Blake Ellis did finish second in the boys’ pole vault event. He cleared 15 feet to finish behind Hoover’s Levi Arroyo, who cleared 15 feet, 6 inches.

Teammate Gavin Horton finished fourth in the event after clearing 14 feet, 6 inches.

The girls were highlighted by Alayah King, who finished fourth in the triple jump with a distance of 35 feet, 11.75 inches.

Skye Smith also had a top-five finish, taking home fifth in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 47.76 seconds.