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October 11, 2012

PREP CROSS COUNTRY: Cold Springs sweeps boys, girls county championships on home course

COLD SPRINGS — Home-field advantage doesn’t quite make sense in cross country.

Talk to any runner, and they’ll say home-course advantage is a lot more like it.

But at Cold Springs, no one’s concerned with what words are used to describe the edge a team receives from hosting a meet. Call it home-field, home-course, home-path or home-trail for all they care. All the Eagles knew was they had it, they liked it and they planned to ride it to victory.

Using a 1-2 finish by Kramer Crider (17:36.43) and Morgan Smith (18:11.29) in the boys’ 5K, as well as a nearly perfect score with six of the top-10 runners in the girls’ 5K, Cold Springs cruised to a sweep of the varsity team titles at Thursday’s Cullman County Cross County Meet.

Fairview’s Porcha Hunter won the individual crown in the girls’ race with a time of 20:57.25, propelling the Aggies to second behind the home-town squad. The Purple and Gold’s boys also claimed the runner-up spot.

But on a deceptively chilly Thursday afternoon, no one was quicker than Crider, who tore down the tape more than half-a-minute before Smith, his Cold Springs’ teammate. Jared Stanley was a solid 10th (18:50.74), C.J. Lang snagged 14th (20:08.19) and Adam Carney took 15th (20:10.09) to round out the Eagles who contributed to their team’s championship.

Crider, Smith and Stanley all earned spots on the All-County Team with their top-10 results. That trio was joined on the esteemed squad by Char Stevens, Vinemont, third, 18:36.14; Matt Burns, Hanceville, fourth, 18:40.61; Nathan Handley, Vinemont, fifth, 18:43.72; Reece Walker, Fairview, sixth, 18:48.98; Kurtis Miller, Fairview, seventh, 18:49.38; Peyton Sanders, Good Hope, eighth, 18:50.11; and Tyler Stringer, Good Hope, ninth, 18:50.52.

West Point’s best boy was Nick Parrott in 12th (19:32.93), while Holly Pond’s was Payden Smith in 16th (20:21.67).

Hunter left her competition in the dust in the girls’ race, crossing the line nearly 18 seconds before Cold Springs’ wave of Kaleigh Merring (21:15.13), Emily Campbell (21:20.89), Cassi Still (22:08.76) and Haven Watson (22:36.82), who swiped second through fifth.

Not far behind for the Eagles were Katie Huffstutler in seventh (23:16.21) and Hannah Watson in 10th (23:51.02).

Hunter, Merring, Campbell, Still, Haven Watson, Huffstutler and Hannah Watson were accompanied on the girls’ All-County Team by Fairview’s August Stancil, sixth, 23:05.24; Ashley Sena, eighth, 23:48.29; and Maddie McNutt, ninth, 23:48.66.

Juliane Parrott was West Point’s top runner in 11th (24:18.48); Starsha Trimble was Holly Pond’s in 15th (26:58.72); Heather Middleton was Good Hope’s in 20th (27:40.91); Ashley Chambers was Vinemont’s in 24th (29:36.54); and Tory Gurganus was Hanceville’s in 27th (31:19.45).

Joey Riggs, Nick Johnson and Isaiah Osborne hogged the first three spots in the junior high boys 2.1-mile race to lead West Point to the team championship. The Warriors’ two other contributors were Ross Harris in eighth and Zach Riggs in 12th.

The six other junior high boys who made the All-County Team were Evan McMilan, Hanceville, fourth; Branen Hurst, Hanceville, fifth; Parker Smith, Holly Pond, sixth; Reid Hollis, Holly Pond, seventh; Colton Teeling, Holly Pond, ninth; and Austin Hammonds, Holly Pond, 10th.

The Broncos’ Nikki Christie claimed the junior high girls individual title, and Vinemont walked away with the team trophy.

The Eagles’ top-five runners were Sydney Dodson in third, Brianna Chance in fourth, Ashlyn Watson in 10th, Lucy Priess in 11th and Dara Hand in 15th.

The remainder of the junior high girls who made the All-County Team were Taylor Sisco, Cold Springs, second; Rachel Haynes, Cold Springs, fifth; Haley Higginbotham, Holly Pond, sixth; Hannah Cook, Hanceville, seventh; Savanah Reid, Holly Pond, eighth; and Kelsey Heatherly, Cold Springs, ninth.

% The Times’ sports editor Rob Ketcham contributed to this report.

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