By Jonathan Deal
Runners from across Limestone County have spent all season preparing for this weekend’s state cross-country meet at the Oakville Indian Mounds. Six boys and girls cross-country teams and 10 individual runners qualified for the state meet through sectional meets last week.
The top-three teams from each section qualify along with the top-six individuals not on the section rosters of the three qualify teams.
Tyler Helms of Elkmont led all local runners with a time of 16:44 in the 5K race held at Cold Springs High School Thursday, Nov. 1. Helms finished first in the 3A sectional race to lead Elkmont to a first-place finish. Other local runners winning their respective races were Athens’ Tate Carden (17:18), West Limestone’s Ramon Quiroz (18:00) and Athens Bible’s Ryan Crews (18:02).
Quiroz was one of five West Limestone runners in the top 20 as the Wildcats won the 4A sectional to qualify for the state meet. Carden helped Athens qualify with a third place finish while Crews led ABS to a second place finish at Heritage Christian University in Florence. The 2A, 4A and 5A sectionals were held in Florence while the 3A sectional took place at Cold Springs.
Along with Crews, other ABS boys helping with the second-place finish were Will Crews (17), Walt Purner (18), Carter Corneil (19) and Will Purner (21). West Limestone’s remaining top runners were Thomas Peek (2), Jacob Martin (8), Cody Farr (17), and
Brandon Page (19).
Athens had four runners in the top 40 including Andrew Sulcer (19), Brock Jerkins (22), Jacob Holland, (34) and Daniel Naylor (38). East Limestone’s Fred Stephens qualified as an individual.
On the girls’ side, West Limestone finished first behind Reilly Hooie’s third-place finish. Other Wildcats in the top 20 were Hope Dildine (12), Alexis Allen (13), Rainey Tyler (14) and Brianna Burrow (19).
The Elkmont girls team finished second with four runners in the top 20. Elkmont runners qualifying for state were Hannah Hanback (10), Samantha Pressnell (11), Jensen Pugh (14) Stephanie Clem (20) and Nickki Ristau (30).
Athens Bible narrowly missed qualifying for the state meet as the Trojans finished fourth at the section race. Despite missing the cut, four ABS runners — Anna Persell (9),
Becca Harwell (13), Hannah Wilson (15) and Ashley Riggins (16) — qualified for state.
Clements boys and girls just missed out on trip to state with fourth-place finishes. On the boys’ side, Mack VanWagnen, (5) and Richard Hodges (6) will go to state as individuals while Alison Jay (2), Brooklyn DeVaey (16) and Rebecca Holland (37) also qualified as individuals on the girls team.
The state cross-country meet begins at 8:30 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 10 at the Oakville Indian Mounds.