Thursday, December 05, 2019






Northside’s King, Homewood’s Griffin Shine at Last Chance Meet Tune-Up

    MONTGOMERY – AHSAA member schools tuned up for this week’s 49th AHSAA Indoor Track & Field State Championships with strong showings in last weekend’s Last Chance Invitational meet held at the Birmingham CrossPlex.
    Grabbing this week’s AHSAA Indoor Track Spotlight at the Last Chance meet were Tanner King of Class 4A Northside and Jasmine Griffin of Class 6A Homewood.
    A total of 72 girls’ teams and 77 boys’ squads competed with 23 girls’ teams and 26 boys’ teams coming from neighboring states.  Coach Devon Hind’s Hoover’s girls won the 6A/7A division championship with 75 points. Homewood was second with 65. Hind’s Bucs’ boys also won with 79.50 points. Chapel Hill (GA) was second with 67 and Smiths Station finished third with 42.
    Northside’s boys accumulated the most points (39) in the 1A/5A division and American Christian’s 26 points was the top AHSAA school finish in the 1A/5A girls’ competition.
    King won the Last Chance Invitational’s 800-meter run in the 1A-5A division with a winning time of 1:58.60 and the 1,600-meter run in 4:27.56. He finished second in the 3,200 meters clocking 9:36.17. Matthew Estopinal of Randolph, who was second in the 1,600 and ninth in the 800, won the 3,200 race with a 9:23.75 time, just six seconds off the CrossPlex all-time record. King won the AHSAA Class 4A/5A 800-meters indoor state championship in 2017, finished second in the 1,600 meters and fifth in the 3,200 meters. All of his times at the Last Chance meet bettered his state meet times of a year ago.
   Griffin captured the 60-meter hurdles in the Last Chance Invitational’s Class 6A/7A division clocking 8.73 seconds last weekend to nip Michelle Nkoudou of Hoover by 1/100th of a second. Griffin also finished second in the 60-meter dash to Madison (GA) Central’s Kennedi Sanders with a time of 7:58 seconds, also just 1/100th of a second behind the winner. Griffin was also clocked at 57.73 to finish third behind Lambert (GA) sprinter Jordan Smith, who set a new Last Chance Invitational record with a time of 55.75. The Homewood standout won the Class 6A 60-meter dash at last year’s AHSAA Indoor championships and was second in the 60-meter hurdles. Both times last weekend were faster than her times in last year’s state meet as well.
    The AHSAA state meet gets underway Friday at the Birmingham CrossPlex with the coaches’ meeting at 8 a.m., and competition beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday’s events get underway at 8 a.m. Approximately 3,000 student-athletes will be in the competition in four divisions.
     Defending state champions are: (7A) Hoover’s boys and girls; (6A) Opelika boys and Homewood girls; (4A/5A) Scottsboro boys and St. Paul’s Episcopal girls; (1A/3A) American Christian’s boys and girls.
     Montgomery Catholic junior Amaris Tyynismaa will be trying to build on her eight individual state indoor championships already won since 2015. She holds indoor records in her class in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters. She also has helped Catholic win one 4x800 relay state title. The Lady Knights will be competing once again in the 4A/5A division.
     Trey Cunningham of Winfield, now a freshman at Florida State, finished his prep career last season with 12 indoor state championships overall and state class records in the 60-meter dash and hurdles and long jump. His 60-meter hurdles time is also a high school boys’ national record.
  Other highlights from the Last Chance Invitational last weekend include:


Tossed the shot put 61 feet, 4 ¼ inches in the 1A/5A competition to set the CrossPlex all-time prep record by more than four feet. Joseph Williams of Spain Park had held the record (58-05) since 2012. His toss came in the AHSAA State Championships. 
GRAHAM COLLINS, McGILL-TOOLEN CATHOLIC: Shattered the Last Chance Invitational and CrossPlex record in the pentathlon scoring 3,607 points. Stone Shelnutt of Hewitt-Trussville was second with a 3,118 score. The previous record (3,147) was set by Trayz Jureidini-Wyche of Alexander (GA) in 2017. Collins won the pentathlon high jump, long jump, shot put, 60-meter hurdles and was second in the 1,000-meter run.
VINCENT TAYLOR, NORTHRIDGE: Won the triple jump with an outstanding final leap of 48-01.
TREYVON JONES, SMITHS STATION: Won a photo-finish race in the 60-meter hurdles in the 6A/7A division over Hoover’s Hakim Ruffin with a time of 6.964 seconds. Ruffin was clocked at 6.968.
XAVIER ROGERS, STANHOPE ELMORE: Sped the 400-meter distance in 48.47 seconds to win the 6A/7A division, beating a field of 123 participants.
JALEN AIBOGUN, CENTER POINT: Beat the 84-participant field with a winning time of 8.38 seconds to claim the 6A/7A 60-meter hurdles title.
JAMES SWEENEY, VESTAVIA HILLS: Finished first in the 1,600 meters with a 4:26.98 time.
WILL STONE, HOMEWOOD: Was clocked at 9:18.91 in the 3,200 meters to win the 6A/7A division title.
JOE LEVENTRY, HOOVER: Won the 6A/7A 800-meter run with a time of 1:57.90.
CARL NESBITT, VESTAVIA HILLS: Won the 6A/7A high jump clearing 6-06.
CHRISTIAN SMITH, FAIRFIELD: Cleared 6-04 to win the 1A/5A division.
JAMES COURSON, HOOVER: Finished first in the 6A/7A pole vault with a winning clearance of 15 feet.
WALKER JUNKIN, WINFIELD: Leaped 14 feet to win the 1A/5A pole vault competition. He also accumulated 2,822 points in the pentathlon to win that event.
HOOVER 4X200 RELAY: Set a new Last Chance Invitational record with a time of 1:28.89 in the 6A/7A finals, eclipsing Oxford’s 1:29.03 time ran in 2016 and almost equaled the CrossPlex overall record (1:28.40) set in 2016 by Opelika in the AHS0AA State Championships.
SMITHS STATION 4X400 RELAY: The Panthers won the 6A/7A event with a time of 3:23.88.
CENTRAL-TUSCALOOSA 4X200 RELAY: The Falcons clocked 1:31.99 to win the 1A/5A division. Out-of-state teams finished in the next seven spots.
SCOTTSBORO 4X800 RELAY: The Wildcats took first in the 1A/5A division with a time of 8:36.01.
Won the 800-meter run in the 1A-5A division with a winning time of 2:16.91 and the 1,600 meters clocking 4:57.89. She finished just 1.84 seconds shy of the meet overall record and was the only runner among the 51 participants in the race to run under 5:00.
HELEN CLAIRE EDMONDS, AMERICAN CHRISTIAN: Cleared 11 feet to win the 1A/5A pole vault.
RACHEL FAUCETT, PLEASANT VALLEY: Leaped 5-02.25 to win the high jump in the 1A/5A division. She also totaled 2,831 points to win the 1A/5A pentathlon.
AMBER MASON, BAYSIDE ACADEMY: Had a winning distance of 16-08.75 to claim the 1A/5A long jump. She also tossed the shot 29-00.50 to win that event as well.
ALONIE SUTTON, SMITHS STATION: Broke her own Last Chance Meet record in the triple jump with a winning distance of 41-02.50. She set the mark in 2017 with a 40-09.75 leap but came up just short of the CrossPlex high school record of 41-05.75 set by Sutton earlier this season.
 JADE JOHNSON, NORTHRIDGE: Tied the high jump meet record set by Claire Petitt of Northridge in 2012 clearing 5-04. However, she finished second to Madison Central’s Asia Poe. The Georgia high jumper cleared 5-04 as well but won with fewer misses. Homewood’s Caroline Lawrence set the CrossPlex record (5-07) in 2016.
SHATAEYA LIGON, JAMES CLEMENS: Leaped 17-05.25 to win the 6A/7A long jump competition.
Won the 6A/7A 800 meter in 2:15.69. Grace Jensen of McGill-Toolen Catholic was second with a 2:16.05 finish.
ANNA BALZLI, MOUNTAIN BROOK: Clocked 5:05.88 to win the 1,600 meters in the 6A/7A division. Sydney Steely was second with a 5:07.31 and Lady Spartans teammate Lily Hulsey was third running 5:11.25.
LAINEY PHELPS, HOMEWOOD: Won the Class 6A/7A division 3,200 meters crossing the finish line at 10:56.44.
HANNAH DAFFIN, McGILL-TOOLEN CATHOLIC: Won the 6A/7A shot put with a toss of 41-01.
ERIN LONG, PELHAM: Won the 6A/7A pentathlon with an overall score of 2,875. Genesis Jones of Hoover was second at 2,852.
 HOOVER 4/200-METER RELAY: Edged the relay team from Pearl (MS) in a photo finish, clocking 1:44.50 to win. Pearl clocked 1:44.53, Homewood was third at 1:44.79, and Sparkman finished fourth at 1:45.39. The Lady Bucs also won the 4x400 relay in the 6A/7A division with a 4:01.72 time. 

Auburn, Winfield, Hoover, Pelham, St. Paul’s and American Christian are Defending Champs at 48th AHSAA Indoor Track and Field Championships

   BIRMINGHAM – Auburn (7A), Opelika (6A), Northside (4A/5A) and Winfield (1A/3A), the 2016 AHSAA boys’ state champions, and 2016 girls’ state champs Hoover (7A), Pelham (6A), St. Paul’s Episcopal (4A/5A) and American Christian (1A-3A will be primed to defend their titles at 48th AHSAA State Indoor Track and Field Championships set for the Birmingham CrossPlex, Feb. 3-4.
    Winfield, led by senior track sensation Trey Cunningham, will be competing in the Class 4A-5A division this year. Cunningham, a Florida State signee, is back for his final indoor state tournament after winning four events in the 2016 state indoor meet. St. Paul’s Episcopal’s girls are also going for their 24th state indoor championship under the direction of Coach Jim Tate, an AHSAA state record.
    Cunningham became the fastest high school 60-meter hurdler in prep indoor track history last weekend when he ran a 7.49-second to win the event at the Last Chance Indoor Championships at the CrossPlex. He also clocked 6.78 seconds in the 60-meter dash, the second-fastest high school time in the nation this year. The leader ran a 6.77 time.
      He continued his assault of the AHSAA indoor state track record book last season with classification record wins in the 400, long jump, 60-meter dash and 60-meter hurdles for a meet high 40 points. He ran a 1A-3A state record 50.30 seconds to win the 400-meter dash and won the 1A-3A 60-meter hurdles with a winning time of 7.84 seconds. He set the class record in the 2016 prelims with a 7.83 time and established the CrossPlex overall record during the regular season with a 7.76 time to rank him first nationally this season. And he closed out his meet performance with 6.98 time in the 60-meter dash for his fourth record of 2016. The Pirates standout also recorded a winning leap of 23 feet, 4 inches to set the Class 1A-3A state indoor record – erasing the 37-year-old mark (22-3 3/4) set by Derrell Washington of Calhoun in 1980. 
    Cunningham clocked 6.86 seconds in the 2017 MLK 60-meter dash, 49.76 seconds in the 400 meters and 7.59, the previous CrossPlex record, in the 60-meter hurdles while winning all three events. He also holds the Class 3A state-meet records for the 110 and 300-meter hurdles.
    Junior Cagan Campbell of Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa has also clocked the fastest 400-meter dash in the nation this indoor season. He ran a 47.64 time in the MLK Classic at the CrossPlex in January.
     Noah Igbinoghene of Hewitt-Trussville, who set the Class 7A indoor triple jump state record with a leap of 48 feet, 1 inch in 2016, is also back for the Huskies, is also back. The Auburn football signee has had an indoor-season best leap of 24 feet, 1 ¾ inches this season and has also leaped 49-3 ¾ in the triple jump. Both distances are among the nation’s best in 2017.
    Among the top girls’ competitors are senior Jayla Kirkland of Woodlawn (Class 4A/5A) and sophomores Amaris Tyynismaa of Montgomery-Catholic (4A/5A) and Nicole Payne Oak Mountain (7A) and freshman Lainey Phelps of Homewood.
     Kirkland has the fastest time in the nation in the 400-meter dash – clocking 54.43 seconds in the MLK Classic earlier this season. She also ran a 7.48 time in the 60-meter dash at the in the Holiday Invitational in December, just 7/100ths of a second shy of the best time in the nation this season. That time was just shy of her own CrossPlex record of 7.46 in the event. She holds the AHSAA Indoor state record in the event with a time of 7.49 in the 2014 and 2015 state meets. Kirkland also holds the CrossPlex record for the 400-meter dash (54.43), which she set at this year’s MLK Classic.
     Tyynismaa, a three-time state cross-country champion, will also be competing in 4A/5A. She holds the AHSAA Indoor state meet record in the 3,200-meter run (10:32.94), which she set in 2015. Tyynismaa also holds the 4A/5A Indoor state record in the 1,600-meter run (5:00.18). Payne won the 7A indoor state championship in the 400-meter dash last season with a state-meet overall record time of 55.25 seconds. She won the MLK Classic 6A/7A division in 2017 with a meet-record 55.65 time. Homewood’s Phelps has the best indoor 3,200, 1,600 and 800 times of the regular season for Alabama prep runners, however, clocking 10:44.77, 4.56.05 and 2:14.14, respectively, in those events.
    The state meet will get underway at 9 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 3 with field events and the 3,200-meter run. Saturday’s schedule will begin at 8 a.m., with field events and at 9 a.m., with running events.
    The NFHS Network will live-stream the championships once again with Jerry Young handling the announcing duties. The link for broadcast information is: