GALLERY — WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS: Ten county athletes win titles at state meet

Published 4:30 pm Friday, May 10, 2024

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Covington County showed up and showed out at the AHSAA 1A-3A State Championship Meet at the Cullman High School Stadium on Friday, May 3, and Saturday, May 4.

A total of 10 athletes from all five county schools that participate in track brought home a title from six different track and field events.

Florala High School’s Seth Cotton won in 110-meter hurdles with a tally of 16.37 and 300-meter hurdles at 42.56. Ronald Johnson took the title in 1A boys’ high jump with a mark of 6-02.00.

“I would like to thank Coach Cantrell for coaching me, and he is the best coach. I could have never become a state champion if it weren’t for him. This state title definitely means a lot to me and shows that all of my hard work paid off,” Cotton said.

“It’s great to be named a state champion. It was not easy going against the best jumper in Class 1A, but I was fortunate to get it done and come home with the title,” Johnson said.

Opp High School’s Mackenzie Phillips was named the champion of the 3A girls’ high jump at 4-10.00.

“Winning the state championship was exhilarating, but it was also something I would have never imagined happening. I decided to try field events after I had to give up running and started high jump a few weeks after my senior track season began. Being recognized as a state champion feels awesome, but most importantly, I hope my success gives the vigorous sport of track and field more of the recognition it deserves in my community,” Phillips said.

Pleasant Home School’s Jackson Hawkins, Nathan Hobbs, John Isaac Hawkins, and Vance Kelley won the 4×800-meter relay. Presley Kelley was named the champion of 1A girls’ pole vault with a distance of 8-08.00.

“Being a state champion means that I have fulfilled a lifelong dream of mine, seeing myself among the banners and pictures of past state winning athletes at our school. A title like this does not come easy but with a lot of time, dedication, tenacity, and sweat. It helps to have a group of friends, a brother, and an amazing God to help you achieve it,” Jackson Hawkins said.

“It is a great honor to win a state championship, but to share the win with some of my best friends and in my senior year is icing on the cake. We have worked long and hard, even on our days off, just for this moment,” Vance Kelley said.

“At the beginning of track season this year, I adopted Philippians 4:13 as my motto. Before I began my run down the runway I said to myself, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ The state championship is a huge honor and I am enjoying it, but I now have bigger goals to achieve with Christ as my strength,” Presley Kelley said.

“Being a state champ is a dream I’ve had since I joined the track team. I couldn’t have gotten here without hard work, practice, and the strength God has given me. It’s an incredible accomplishment for me, and I hope it makes the Lord proud,” Hobbs said.

“Being a state champion to me means putting in the work. It takes dedication and hard work, learning from your mistakes, and being coachable. You have to push yourself and run more than expected at practice and especially on race day. It was awesome to run with the guys on our relay team and my brother,” John Isaac Hawkins said.

Red Level School’s Miracle Wright won the 100-meter dash for the fourth straight year with a time of 12.64. She won the 200-meter dash for the second straight year and clocked a mark of 26.19. Wright is now a 7-time state champion with two years of high school eligibility remaining.

“Being a state champion is an incredible feeling. My journey was filled with challenges, but the reward was absolutely worth it. The experience of competing at such a high level, representing my school and team, and achieving success is truly unforgettable. The support from family, coaches, teammates, and fans made the victory even better. It’s a moment of pride and accomplishments I’ll cherish for a lifetime,” Wright said.

Straughn High School’s Avery Smith took the title in 3A boys’ shot put with a distance of 49-08.50.

“When I began track and field, winning state was something I felt was unattainable. With my faith and help from coaches and teammates, I was able to achieve a goal I felt was out of my reach. Without the support of my family and close friends throughout the years, I do not believe I could have achieved the goal of being a state champion at Straughn,” Smith said.

Led by head coach Jordan Cantrell, the Florala boys tallied 63.5 points and finished third overall in the state in Class 1A, while the Florala girls earned 35 points and finished sixth. Additional Florala results are as follows:

  • Kyndra Anthony: 100-meter dash, sixth place, 13.18; 300-meter hurdles, fourth place, 51.44
  • Emery Wood: 800-meter run, second place, 2:29.59; 1600-meter run, third place, 5:59:33
  • Girls: 4×400-meter relay, fourth place, 4:41.05; 4×800-meter relay, second place, 12:07.36
  • Maggie Russell: javelin throw, 19th place, 68-09
  • Layton Stone: 800-meter run, 20th place, 2:31.28
  • Dalton Devenney: 1600-meter run, eighth place, 5:12.72; 3200-meter run, seventh place, 11:27.67
  • Bradley Norman: 110-meter hurdles, seventh place, 17.88; javelin throw, second place, 157-07
  • Boys: 4×100-meter relay, sixth place, 45.23; 4×800-meter relay, fourth place, 9:26.90
  • Rayshon Coleman: high jump, seventh place, 5-08.00; triple jump, fourth place, 39-06.00
  • Christian Greasham: high jump, 11th place, 5-08.00
  • Seth Cotton: discus throw, 23rd place, 80-07; javelin throw, third place, 137-11

Led by head coach Lance McCollough, the Opp boys earned 10 points and finished 23rd in Class 3A, while the Opp girls had 18 points and finished 14th. Additional Opp results are as follows:

  • Le’Tasia Coleman: 300-meter hurdles, seventh place, 51.74; triple jump, 10th place, 30-10.25
  • Girls: 4×100-meter relay, fifth place, 51.87; 4×800-meter relay, 12th place, 12:25.94
  • Mackenzie Phillips: discus throw, 21st place, 59-05; javelin throw, sixth place, 98-02
  • Dylan Reisnour: 300-meter hurdles, 18th place, 46.00
  • Boys: 4×800-meter relay, 15th place, 9:37.96
  • Damirian Thompson: high jump, second place, 6-02.00
  • Frankie Williams: shot put, sixth place, 43-06.00
  • Jamavius Cooper: discus throw, 18th place, 106-00.50

Led by head coach Tony Wilson, the Pleasant Home boys earned 25 points for an 11th-place finish, while the Pleasant Home girls were 21st with 10 points. Additional Pleasant Home results are as follows:

  • Presley Kelley: long jump, 13th place, 13-05.75
  • Briley Douglas: discus throw, 11th place, 72-08.50
  • Chloe Bush: javelin throw, 13th place, 79-01
  • Chris Scott: 200-meter dash, 11th place, 23.96
  • Elgin McMeans: 300-meter hurdles, 13th place, 45.50
  • Boys: 4×100-meter relay, seventh place, 45.65; 4×400-meter relay, third place, 3:40.04
  • Vance Kelley: pole vault, third place, 11-06.00
  • Alex Scott: triple jump, 11th place, 37-03.00

Led by head coach Steven Bailey, the Red Level boys finished in 25th place with three points, while the Red Level girls were 15th with 20 points. Additional Red Level results are as follows:

  • Camani Crittenden: 100-meter hurdles, 20th place, 22.37
  • Mariah Crowell: high jump, 13th place, 4-04.00
  • Braylen Godwin: 800-meter run, 18th place, 2:24.95
  • Luke Hodges: 1600-meter run, 15th place, 5:27.58
  • Jackson Ingram: 300-meter hurdles, sixth place, 44.31
  • Boys: 4×400-meter relay, ninth place, 3:58.23
  • Connor Owens: high jump, 15th place, 5-04.00
  • Caston Black: long jump, 11th place, 17-10.75
  • Zach Coker: discus throw, 13th place, 101-05
  • Xavier Crain: discus throw, 18th place, 95-06
  • Dominic Williams Jr.: javelin throw, 10th place, 118-10
  • Ben Carroll: javelin throw, 13th place, 116-07
  • Braden Walker: javelin throw, 15th place, 115-06

Led by head coach John Evers, the Straughn boys finished in 23rd place with 10 points, while the Straughn girls took 27th place with four points. Additional Straughn results are as follows:

  • Trinity Cator: 400-meter dash, 12th place, 1:03.82
  • Faithe Eib: 800-meter run, 17th place, 2:40.80; 1600-meter run, 16th place, 6:00.69
  • Kaitlyn Bybee: 800-meter run, 19th place, 2:42.21; 1600-meter run, 13th place, 5:55.46; 3200-meter run, 12th place, 12:56.44
  • Lillian Weeks: 300-meter hurdles, 24th place, 56.81
  • Girls: 4×800-meter relay, fifth place, 11:28.66
  • Anna Driver: triple jump, 17th place, 28-04.75
  • Alex Kelley: shot put, 14th place, 28-05.00; discus throw, 11th place, 76-02.50
  • Madelyn Worley: shot put, 18th place, 26-04.00
  • Chloe Anderson: javelin throw, 16th place, 83-10
  • Ean Robbins: shot put, 18th place, 38-08.00
  • Carter Straughn: javelin throw, 10th place, 139-03

— Editor’s Note: The above results were submitted from the AHSAA. They reflect only the finishes in the finals of each event and do not include any results from preliminaries.

All photos with this article were provided to the Andalusia Star-News by photographer Tina Boles.