Straughn cross country team holds 1st-ever meet Saturday

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Stephen Bowen and Hollie Carter got together around April of last year and thought it would be a good idea to form a cross country team at Straughn High School.

Their idea turned into reality Saturday as the Tigers competed in their first-ever meet at Saint James School in Montgomery.

“It’s something I’ve always been a part of since I got out of high school,” Bowen, the head CC coach said. “It’s something we thought the kids would enjoy. This will bring adversity to the athletic year, and get more involved and investment in the school.”

At Saturday’s meet, Straughn’s Abigail Thomas finished in eighth place out of 127.

“For her first run, we were so proud of her,” Bowen said.

Thomas finished the 3.1-mile course in 23 minutes, 27 seconds.

In the male division, the Tigers didn’t have anybody place individually, but as a team, they finished ninth.

Bowen said Thomas ran well, pushing until the end, all the while keeping the field behind her.

“All of the boys did real well,” he said. “We’ve learned a lot to where we need to go, and how we need to start building a program. That’s the biggest thing we took away from this weekend.”

SHS will field 12 on its team this year. There are three seniors in Taylor King, Brenton Jennings and Andrew Hartzog.

Bowen said that he’s excited about the senior group, along with the freshman as well.

“Them getting in now as ninth graders will get them four years in the sport,” he said.

Bowen said the top runners for the Tigers are Johnathon Driver, Cory Philpott, Jennings and Hartzog.

Straughn will be competing in Class 4A, Section 1 with rival Andalusia, Booker T. Washington Magnet, Elmore County, Holtville, LAMP, Montgomery Catholic, St. James, Satsuma, Trinity Presbyterian and UMS-Wright.

Bowen said the team is aiming for a pretty good finish for its inaugural year.

“We’re hoping we can work this season and qualify for state,” he said. “Obviously, we’d love to win state. We’re hoping to get a few boys, one or two girls in there to qualify for state.”

In today’s meet, the Tigers will be competing against STJ, Prattville, Stanhope Elmore, Alabama Christian, Auburn, Booker T. Washington, Holtville, Trinity and Tallassee, where the girls start at 8 a.m. and the boys at 8:40.

For AHS, the Bulldogs will have eight kids on their roster for the year.

“We’re looking forward to it,” AHS CC coach Dr. Daniel Shakespeare said. “We’re still in the infancy stage, but I think we’re going to do alright.”

Chase Fillmer and Hunter Earnest are the Bulldogs’ seniors on the team.

Opp, in Class 3A, Section 1, will go up against Bayside Academy, Cottage Hill, T.R. Miller, Montgomery Academy and Prattville Christian.