Those who don’t follow cross country closely probably don’t think there’s much more to the sport than putting one foot in front of the other faster than every competitor.
Oh, how far off those folks would’ve been at Wednesday’s Randolph Cross Country Classic. The annual 5K event, also known as the “Run in the Mud,” took place at UAH on a course unlike many others. The race involved the 1,200 or so total runners crossing a creek four different times, making for a plethora of comical moments, as well as some soaked and muddy kids, by the time all was said and done.
West Point competed in the large-school division (Class 5A-6A), while Fairview, Hanceville and Holly Pond’s student-athletes took on the small-school field (1A-4A).
With Joey Riggs snagging 31st (19:41) and Jake Wilson trailing just more than two seconds behind in 33rd, the Warriors’ boys were able to walk away seventh out of 13 teams.
Rounding out West Point’s counting scores were Nick Parrott, 40th (19:58); Nick Roman, 72nd (21:43); and Luke Tucker, 79th (21:58).
Fairview’s Reece Walker was 37th (19:45) and Hanceville’s Matt Burns 39th (19:49) to lead the Aggies and Bulldogs to their respective team results. Hanceville was 13th, just two points behind Central-Florence for 12th, but 40 points ahead of Fairview in 14th. A whopping 28 squads were represented in the small-school boys race.
Hanceville’s remaining top five were Casey Guthery, 60th (20:29); Ethan Yarbrough, 75th (21:06); Isacc Weissend, 100th (21:52); and J.K. David, 102nd (21:56). Fairview’s were Jerrami Browder, 73rd (20:59); Logan Murphree, 87th (21:37); Colby Chapman, 95th (21:45) and Kaleb Jones, 128th (23:03).
Holly Pond landed in 20th behind the performances of Parker Smith, 72nd (20:58); Austin Hammonds, 77th (21:07); Colton Teeling, 105th (22:02); Clint O’Brien, 167th (23:44); and Dylan Basenburg, 185th (24:08).
Though it didn’t quite bring enough girls to make up a team, West Point’s four runners all landed inside the top 100 — Maddie Whitesell, 48th (25:25); Gabrielle Sinyard, 58th (26:22); Abby Wilson, 66th (26:44); and Hannah Wisener, 82nd (28:42).
The top results from Fairview, Holly Pond and Hanceville in the small-school girls portion were Maddie McNutt, Fairview, 60th (25:50); Nikki Christie, 75th, Holly Pond (26:27); August Stancil, Fairview, 80th (27:00); and Chandra Barnes, Hanceville, 102nd (28:54).
The largest varsity race of the day went to the small-school boys with 273 runners, followed by the large-school boys, 171; small-school girls, 166; and large-school girls, 119.
Eight local schools — Cold Springs, Cullman, Fairview, Good Hope, Hanceville, Holly Pond, St. Bernard and Vinemont — are registered to take part in Saturday’s Fairview Invitational, which will feature a nearly 20-team field.
% The Times’ sports editor Rob Ketcham contributed to this report.