EAGLES WON’T BACK DOWN: PHS earns spot in cross-country title meet

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Pleasant Home Eagles’ girls and boys cross-country squads clinched spots in this weekend’s state meet in Moulton. Josh Dutton/Star-News

The Pleasant Home Eagles’ girls and boys cross-country squads clinched spots in this weekend’s state meet in Moulton.
Josh Dutton/Star-News

The Pleasant Home Eagles boys and girls cross-country teams placed third in Class 1A-2A South Sectional Meet on Thursday to clinch a spot in the 2016 Cross-Country State Championship Meet in Moulton.

“It’s a pretty impressive accomplishment for our first year having a cross-country team,” Pleasant Home cross-country head coach Troy Turman said. “The kids have really put a lot of hard work into the season and it is really showing on their overall times.”

Coming into the meet, Turman said he really wasn’t sure how the outcome of the girls’ race would go.

“When we got there and I saw the other teams that were registered, I didn’t know if our girls had chance,” Turman said. “Our girls came out strong and finished third overall to put us into the state meet as a team.”

Turman said the girls had strong times at the sectional meet.

“They did an outstanding job at sectionals,” Turman said. “Right now, the girls are running the best that they have all season. They are really happy and excited to be going to state, and I think they will be able to do well.”

On the boys’ side, the Eagles also finished third as a team to advance to the state meet in Moulton.

“I knew coming in that the boys had a chance to place in the top three and advance,” Turman said. “There were a couple of school that were really deep, but I really felt like that third spot was going to come down to us and Shades Mountain.”

As the race neared the finish line, Turman said he wasn’t sure how it was going to end.

“The first mile we were just doing so-so,” Turman said. “I had a few people positioned around the course encouraging the guys along and about halfway through I headed to the finish line. As I’m looking down the course, I see a Shades Mountain guy coming around the final dog-leg, and I thought we might be done. Just as soon as he came around the corner, here came four of our guys chasing him. He finished ahead of our guys, but I knew that still put us in a good spot.”

After the first four Eagles came in, the fifth Eagle made a strong push to finish ahead of a Shades Mountain runner.

“Our fifth guy and Shades Mountain third guy came around the corner about the same time,” Turman said. “They were jostling back-and-forth and our kid got a burst near the line and beat him. Right after that our sixth and seventh runners came before their fourth, I knew right then we had a third place.”

Turman said he was impressed by the Eagles’ performance.

“Every boy that ran in sectionals, had a personal best time,” Turman said. “They were all under 23 minutes and one of them is a seventh grader.  I’ve been really impressed with them.”

Turman said the state meet will be tough, but the Eagles are ready for the challenge.

“It’s a brand new experience for all of us,” Turman said. “We will be competing against 12 other schools. It’s going to be tough, but we are very excited about going to state. There are going to be some very good teams there, but we want to just get as high of a seed as we can.”

The Class 1A-2A Cross-Country State Championship Meet is being held on Sat., Nov. 12 in Moulton.