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Red Level Tigers are chasing down medals

Back row left to right: Joe Arnold, John Lee, Brody Ingram and Austin Huckaba. Front row left to right: Assistant coach Mark Price, Dylan Browder, Diauna Mitchell, Jake Jeter, Braxton Lee and head coach Heath Watkins. Not pictured: Dalton Thompson and Tristan Bedell.

Back row left to right: Joe Arnold, John Lee, Brody Ingram and Austin Huckaba. Front row left to right: Assistant coach Mark Price, Dylan Browder, Diauna Mitchell, Jake Jeter, Braxton Lee and head coach Heath Watkins. Not pictured: Dalton Thompson and Tristan Bedell.

The Red Level Tigers had strong regular season in AHSAA Class 1A track and field, and they are sending five members to the State Finals in Cullman on Friday and Saturday.

“Throughout the season, we compete against much bigger schools,” Red Level head track coach Heath Watkins said. “John Lee has been running with those kids, but being from a small school he doesn’t get much recognition.”

The junior Lee is making his third-straight trip to the Class 1A state finals.

“We’ve had a track team for the past several years, but we have never had money to buy equipment until this year,” Coach Mark Price said. “That really says a lot about what John Lee has done over the past three years. It’s hard training without the proper equipment and just shows the kind of talent that he has.”

Lee qualified to compete in four events at the state meet, including 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, boys long jump and the 4×800-meter relay.

“It’s a pretty big deal for me going back to state for the third year,” Lee said. “I think the past experience will help me out.”

Of the four events, Lee said the 200-meter is his strongest event.

In the state qualifying meet in Montgomery, Lee posted the top time in all of Class 1A in the 200-meter with a time of 22.58.

Lee also had the best sectional time in the 100-meter and long jump.

“Qualifying for state in four events is a tremendous accomplishment,” Watkins said. “Not only did John qualify for four events, but Joe Arnold did as well.”

Arnold will compete in the 300-meter hurdles, the 110-meter hurdles, discus and the 4×800-meter relay event.

“It’s a pretty good feeling,” Arnold said about going to state. “I’ve only been on the team for two years and this is my second year making it to state.”

Arnold said that his best event this year has been the 110-meter hurdles.

“I’m looking forward to the competition at state,” Arnold said. “When you get to compete against the best athletes, it makes it a lot of fun.”

The Tigers also had Jake Jeter and Brody Ingram qualify for the state meet in the 3,200-meter run.

Ingram’s time of 12:07.26 was the top qualifying time in the Region 1 sectional meet.

Austin Huckaba, Arnold, Lee and Jeter qualified for the 4×800-meter relay.

“This is a very young team and they are going to keep getting better,” Watkins said. “We only have one senior on the team and two juniors. They have been a great bunch and I’m very proud of the way they have competed all season.”

Watkins and Price said that none of this would have been possible without the help of the community.

“We want to thank the community and the booster club for all they have done,” Price said. “We started out with nothing, but their generosity has been overwhelming.”

For those that can’t make the trip to Cullman, the National Federation of State High School Associations will be broadcasting the event live on their website. It can be found at, www.NFHS.com.