By Jake Winfrey
The Cullman Times
Although this year’s state cross country meet won’t take place until Saturday in Moulton, one of the sport’s most popular websites already has a leg-up on the results.
The Alabama Runners’ website recently posted virtual results for all boys' and girls' races in each classification based on each of the runners’ season-best times.
On the Class 1A/2A boys’ side, St. Bernard’s Seamus Russell and Will Faulk are projected to finish second and third, respectively. The pair trails only Alex Enns from Holy Spirit Catholic School, whose time of 16:23:31 leads the field by almost 20 seconds.
Russell set his personal-best time of 16:42:42 at last week’s sectionals, narrowly defeating his teammate Faulk in the process.
Faulk's time of 16:52:73 puts him in the hunt for a top-three
results by about 15 seconds.
Cold Springs’ Kramer Crider is the only other county participant inside the boys' 1A/2A top 10, claiming the seventh spot so far with a time of 17:34.77.
According to the website, the Saints are the heavy favorite to win the 1A/2A state title, but they will face stiff competition from the likes of Montgomery Academy and Hatton, both of which placed three runners inside the top 20.
Rounding out the top projections for St. Bernard are Steven Mami (11), Oscar Perez (18) and Isaias Robles (26).
Cold Springs is expected to finish sixth based on its times this season.
The Eagles’ Morgan Smith (15), Jared Stanley (39) and C.J. Lang (47) join Crider as the team's top runners heading into Moulton.
Meanwhile, Cullman’s Nicholas Fillinger holds the sixth fastest time submitted in 5A, turning in a 16:49:16 mark.
The Bearcats are aided by Devan Hall (19), Mark Gomez (42), Jesse Burroughs (45) and Stephen McNeal (51).
Cullman is also projected to finish sixth in a competitive field that will likely to come down between Scottsboro and Homewood.
Fairview will join in the fun as well, competing in the 4A division.
Although the Aggies aren’t projected to finish near the top, runners Reece Walker (44), Kurtis Miller (45) and Jerrami Browder (55) will look to improve on their personal-best times so far this season.
Logan Ayers and Ayleana Mami are hoping to lead the Saints to a state championship in the 1A/2A girls competition on Saturday.
Ayers is projected to take home the individual title, coming into this year’s meet with a season-best time of 19:16:51, while her teammate, Mami, is slated to finish third with a 19:42:43 mark.
Joining St. Bernard's top two are are Jaden Edge (11), Leahrose Mami (23), Caityln Varquez (28) and Morgan Matz (30).
The Saints’ bid for a first-place finish will be tested by the odds-on favorite, Montgomery Academy. The Eagles are likely to have six runners in the top 15, including Taylor Gerard (2) and Kaylee Quinn (4).
Just like its boys, Cold Springs’ girls are looking to make some noise and sneak into the top five.
The Eagles are expected to battle it out with Holy Spirit for fourth and fifth in the team competition. Cold Springs has been led by the strong performances of Emily Campbell (15), Cassi Still (19) and Kaleigh Merring (21).
In the 4A division, Fairview is currently in line to finish eighth, but a strong showing on the Oakville Indian Mound course could bump the Aggies up the leaderboard.
Porcha Hunter, Fairview's faster runner, is on pace to tackle a top-10 result. She enters Saturday's 5K with the ninth-best submitted time (20:57.29) in 4A.
Other Aggie contributors could include August Stancil (49) and Ashley Sena (57).
Cullman rounds out the teams in The Times' coverage area. The Bearcats, facing a fierce 5A field, have a great chance of counting on top-50 times from Marisa Franklin (39), Megan Pendley (44) and Hillary Crider (51).
Below are the starting times for each team Saturday at the Oakville Indian Mounds in Moulton:
% St. Bernard/Cold Springs: Girls at 9:30 a.m. Boys at 10:10 a.m.
% Cullman: Girls at 8:30 a.m. Boys at 9:10 a.m.
% Fairview: Girls at 10:50 a.m. Boys at 11:30 a.m.
% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 258 or at email@example.com.