From the AHSAA
BIRMINGHAM — Hewitt-Trussville’s girls came in second in the 7A State Indoor Track Championships on Saturday, while the Huskies’ boys took third place in their division.
Phoebe Greene won the shot put competition by 1½ inches over runner-up and Huskies teammate Madisyn Hawkins. The winning toss was 37-02.00 by Greene, and Hawkins’ best throw was 37-00.50.
The Huskies’ Tristan Teer won the 3,200-meter race with 9:36.17 time. Vestavia Hills’ Will Jordan, who had the seventh best qualifying time, clocked 9:42.40 to capture second place.
Hewitt-Trussville’s Tanveer Raza had a 54-09 winning toss in the shot put for the Huskies, winning by a toss of nearly three feet. James Clemens’ Jaylen Drake took second with a 51-10.50 heave.
“It’s a little bittersweet in some ways,” Hewitt-Trussville track & field coach Tom Esslinger said. “The toughest part really is that we do feel good about it, but we’re hungry for more.”
The girls’ runner-up trophy represents the fifth team state map that Hewitt-Trussville track & field has brought home since February 2021.
“I’m so proud of these teams, from the work they put in since last summer to the fall off-season getting prepared for indoor,” Esslinger said. “Really what we’re concentrating on is doing the best we can in the moment. Hoover and Vestavia both had great meets. Hoover didn’t give us any mistakes where we could take advantage.”
Hoover High School swept first place in both divisions.
Hewitt-Trussville relied on a mix of its experienced athletes and newer faces. Hewitt’s Catherine Asbury came in fourth in the girls’ high jump, while freshman Michael Igbinoghene was third in the boys’ long jump.
“That’s almost unheard of,” Esslinger said. “The future is bright.”
The Bucs of Coach Chris Schmidt won their titles in drastically diverse ways. The girls took the lead early on and never looked back. The boys, however, had to overcome a baton handoff that went awry in the 4×200-meter relay that Hoover was expected to win. The rest of the meet was a nailbiter for the Bucs and their strongest challenger Vestavia Hills.
Hoover’s girls won the state title with 119 points. Hewitt-Trussville was second with 76.33 and Vestavia Hills had 72. Spain Park and Auburn rounded out the top five with 38 and 35 points, respectively. It was the 10th indoor state crown for the Hoover girls.
The Hoover boys posted 108 points to claim the school’s 11th boys’ state indoor championship. Vestavia Hills, which won the final race of the night winning the 4×400 relay in a head-to-head finish, was second with 100 points. Hewitt-Trussville was third with 76, followed by Huntsville (38) and James Clemens (32.5).
The Bucs have won seven state boys’ championships since 2013 – six under the direction of now retired legendary coach Devon Hind during that span. Schmidt, in his first year as head coach, earned both 2022 state titles.
The 7A boys’ championship took swift turn in the 4×200 relay. Vestavia Hills came into the 4×200 relay finals as the top seed and won the race with a 1.29.36 time. The four-man crew, consisting of Colin Robinson, Matthew Rainer, Wyatt Raley and John Stephens, got an added bonus when Hoover fell out of contention with a mishandled exchange between the third and fourth runners and finished 22nd with a 1:36.28 time. The Bucs qualified with a 1:28.56 – only 24/100ths of a second behind the Rebels’ qualifying time.
Vestavia Hills took the 67-62 lead in the boys’ meet over Hoover with that win into the final five events. Hoover rebounded in the 4×800-meter relay with Sam Kilgore, Matthew Harden, Cannon Peters and Elijah Joseph ran a 7:58.62 time to win the next running event and Vestavia Hills finished second clocking 8:06.49.
During that same event, however, Hoover pole vaulters Carter Ellis and Collin Pate forced a three-way playoff with Spain Park vaulter John Landers, who missed at 15-3 and both Bucs cleared 15-3, then missed at 15-06. They settled the order of first and second place when Pate cleared at 15 feet to win, and Ellis missed to take second place. More importantly, they garnered 18 points to push the Bucs ahead again, this time for good.
Hoover’s talented triple jumper Jay Avery cleared 48-08.75 to beat Auburn’s Derrick Tarver by a foot for the gold in the triple jump, the first field event in the met. He closed the meet by winning the long jump with a 22-00.25 leap to give the Bucs 10 important points to seal the state title. Jordan Morrison of Bob Jones was second with a 21-09.50 leap.
The Lady Bucs won all three relays, the 4×200, 4×400 and 4×800, and scored points in every event.
Highlights of the 7A state championships include:
CRAWFORD WEST, VESTAVIA HILLS: The Rebels’ senior clocked 4:58.68 to win the Class 7A 1,600 meters Saturday, breaking the AHSAA Class 7A indoor state meet record (4:59.58) she set last year. She had a 4:53.20 best during the regular season. The overall state record (4:49.17) was set by McGill-Toolen Catholic’s Carmen Carlos 2012 during the regular season at the CrossPlex.
West set another 7A record in the 3,200 meters beating the field with a 10:49.48 time – 10 seconds faster than the indoor state meet record (10:58.27) she set in 2021. Auburn’s Rylee Plexico finished second Saturday with an 11:14.99 time.
championships with 2:13.40 time in the 800 meters. Her time was just one second off the 7A Indoor State Meet record (2:12.125) set by McGill-Toolen Catholic’s Claire Frazier Bolton in 2020. She is now a member of the University of Virginia track and cross country teams.
The 800 race Saturday was one of the most competitive in 7A history with the four finishers clocking under 2:15. McKenzie Blackledge of Hoover placed second with a 2:14.15 time. Hewitt-Trussville’s Maci Mills was third clocking 2:14.20, and Haley Wilson of Central-Phenix City placed fourth clocking 2:14.84.
MAKENZIE HARRIS, AUSTIN: Captured the 60-meter hurdles race clocking 9.04 seconds. Hewitt-Trussville’s Tori Mack was second at 9.20.
DAISY LUNA, HOOVER: Won the 400-meter dash with a 56.26 time. Spain Park’s MacKenzie Blackledge, who won the 800 meters race, was second clocking 56.79.
AMIAH MURRY, ALBERTVILLE: Had a top leap of 36-07.50 to win the 7A girls’ triple jump. Tamia Dantzler of Foley was runner-up with a best distance of 34-01.75.
LANGLEY JUNG, HOOVER: Cleared 5-06 in the high jump to capture first place for the Bucs. Auburn’s Hope Foster finished second with a 5-4 leap.
KENNEDY MORELAND, VESTAVIA HILLS: Cleared 11 feet in the pole vault along with Kirsten Leonard of Hoover. Moreland won the gold, however, vaulting the height in her second try, and Leonard cleared the bar on her third try.
ANGELICA VINES, VESTAVIA HILLS: Took first place in the 7A long jump with a winning leap of 16-11.50. Auburn’s Sophie Snyder was second with a 16-08.50 jump.
HOOVER 4×200 RELAY: The Lady Bucs won the 4×200 relay clocking 1:40.93 – just 2/100ths of a second off the Class 7A Indoor State Meet record set by Hoover in 2016. The four runners, Jebreiya Chapman, Gabrielle Washington, Taylor Canada and Layla Wilson, also improved their best qualifying time by more than a second to get the win. Baker was second with a 1:45.47 time, and Sparkman took third with a 1:45.57.
HOOVER 4×800 RELAY: The team of McKenzie Blackledge, Ashley Girouard, Daisy Luna and Lana Kate Hammonds won the 4×800 with a 9:40.60 time. Vestavia Hills was second two seconds back at 9:42.87.
HOOVER 4×400 RELAY: The Lady Bucs swept all three relays with a strong 4:00.98 time in the final relay of the night. Spain Park was second with a 4:04.95 time. Hoover’s relay team included Jebreiya Chapman, Taylor Canada, Gabrielle Washington and McKenzie Blackledge.
CHARLIE SEXTON, AUBURN: Just missed the 7A indoor state meet record by 2/100ths of a second clocking 6.84 to win the 60-meter dash gold. D.J. Black of Hoover was second running 6.87, Jovel Madouie of Foley finished third running 6.97, and James Clemens’ Chad Coulter was the fourth runner under seven seconds clocking 6.99 in the very competitive race.
JAMARI HAWKINS, BAKER: Ran the 60-meter hurdles race in 8.10 seconds to claim first place. Vestavia Hills’ Bo Webb was second running 8.24.
JOHN STEPHENS, VESTAVIA HILLS: Finished first in the 400-meter dash with a 49.42 finish to edge Rebels teammate Matthew Rainer, who crossed just 1/10th of a second later at 59.52. Foley’s Jovel Madourie took third clocking 50.36.
ALEX LEATH, VESTAVIA HILLS: Emerged from a strong field to claim the boys’ 800 meters title with a 1:53.65 time. Huntsville’s Jackson Harris was second clocking 1:55.50, followed by James Clemens’ Dylan Dryer (1:55.58) and Leath’s Vestavia teammate Henry Strand (1:55.76). Leath also won the 1,600 meters with a 4:22.98 time. He came into the state meet as the fourth seed and bettered his top regular-season time by more than three seconds. Hoover’s Elijah Joseph, who was the top seed, finished second with a 4:23.75 time.
PATRICK SWEENEY, AUBURN: Had a personal best 21-foot toss to win the boys’ ambulatory shot put.
ETHAN HAMMETT, OAK MOUNTAIN: Was one of three in the high jump competition to clear 6-04 – winning the event over runner-up Jay Avery of Hoover and third-place Eran Foye of Enterprise by clearing the height first. He and Avery cleared on their second attempt and Foye completed the height on his third try.
VESTAVIA HILLS 4×400 RELAY: The Rebels closed out the meet with a 3:24.78 performance in the 4×400 relay finals thanks to a strong effort from Matthew Rainer, Alex Leath, John Stephens and Bo Webb. Hoover was second at 3:25.57.