Opelika, Northridge Close Strong to Claim AHSAA 6A Indoor Track Championships
BIRMINGHAM – Opelika High School’s boys and Northridge High School’s girls dominated the sprints and field events as both schools captured the AHSAA Class 6A State Indoor Track and Field Championship Saturday at the Birmingham CrossPlex Friday.
The Class 6A boys and girls will competed in the first session Saturday, and Class 7A was scheduled to close the 51stchampionships in the second sessionbeginning at 3 p.m.
TheNFHS Networkis live-streaming both days of competition with the Central-Phenix City NFHS Network School Broadcast Program led by executive producerTim Loremanhandling the track championships. Go towww.nfhsnetwork.comfor inform information on how to access the live-streamed video telecast.
Opelika, coached byJimmy Johnson,won its third indoor boys’ state title in a row totaling 81 points to beat defending state champion Homewood, which finished second with 66. Scottsboro, last season’s 4A/5A champs, finished third (52) in the tough Class 6A field and Mountain Brook (35), moving down from 7A this season, was fourth. The Bulldogs won bck-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017
Northridge, coached byJeff Sparks,emerged with 97 points to win its first state girls’ indoor title since claiming back-to-back crowns in 2004 and 2005 when the meet was at Priceville. Mountain Brook finished second Saturday with 86 points.Homewood was third with 59,and McGill-Toolen Catholic took fourth place with 45.
Homewood’sBrooke Waldentied the Class 6A girls’ indoor pole vault record with a winning clearance of 12 feet, 1 inch.Margaret Ollingerof McGill-Toolen Catholic set the mark originally at the 2014 state meet.Ollingeralso set the CrossPlex record (13-02.50) in a regular-season meet in 2015.
In the boys’ competition, Helena’sBrady Bartonwon the 3,200 meters with a time of 9:14.99 to break the state meet record (9:17.71) set by Hoover’sRobert Bedsolein 2005. Vestavia Hills’Ethan Strand,set to compete in the 7A competition later today, holds the CrossPlex and overall record with a time of 9:00.49 in a regular-season match in 2020. John Carroll Catholic’sColeman Spauldingalso ran a 9:12.9 time in the regular season 57 years ago in 1974.Bartonalso won the 800 meters with a 1:54.62 time, andRex GreenHazel Green was a close second at 1:55.71.
SophomoreCady McPhailof Chelsea opened the 6A competition with a strong 2:14.33 time winning the 800-meter run.McPhailwent on to swept all three distance races winning the 1,600 meters (5:08.22) and the 3,200 meters (11:05.30).
Northridge was consistent its scoring all day withLeah Dendytaking second in the pole vault clearing 11 feet.Rashni Walkerwon the long jump with a winning leap of 17-08.75 and the 60-meter hurdles clocking 8.96 seconds. She also took second in 60-meter dash with a time of 7.96. Hazel Green’sIjah Drakewon the race in 7.90 seconds. Shot putterJada Connorhad a winning throw of 35-07.25 to give Northridge another first.
Opelika sprinterJarell Stinsoncaptured the 60-meter dash and 400-meter dash with strong times of 6.94 and 48.85, respectively.LaDamian Rowellwon the triple jump and high jump with a winning leap of 47-05.5 in the triple jump and clearing 6-2 to claim the high jump. The Bulldogs picked up eight more points in the high jump withEric Wattsfinishing second with a best of 6-0.Wattsfinished second in the triple jump andRowelltook third. The winner,Javion Watkinsof Paul Bryant, won with a leap of 22-08.75 – inch better thanWatts,whose best leap was 22-07.75.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a strong lead in the 4x200 relay as expected but dropped the baton in the third exchange and finished out of the points.
The boys’ 1,600 meters proved to be one of the most competitive of the day with Homewood’sCrawford Drakecrossing the finish line first with a 4:20.96 time. Four other runners came in under4:30with St. Paul’sStone Smithsecond at 4:23.09) and followed in order by Scottsboro’sCooper Atkins(4:27.55) andBenson Atkins(4:29.19); and Homewood’sGrayton Murray(4:29.68).Cross Derrisocleared 15-06 to win the 6A pole vault, missing his final attempts at 16 feet.
Complete results provided by Xpress Timing can be found at the following link which can be accessed atwww.ahsaa.com: