Participants of the Cullman Classic have surely come to expect a few things out of the annual event by now — a good time, a well-run meet by coach Trent Dean and his massive support staff, and a stout mix of small and large schools that can compete with anyone.
Just don’t think the home team is willing to hand out all the hardware to their opponents, not when they can claim it for themselves. That’s precisely what the Lady Bearcats did Friday, riding an MVP performance from Olivia Kontogeorge and a trio of other golds to the large-school (Class 4A-6A) team title.
Kontogeorge continued a scintillating start to the season, taking the cake in the triple jump (33’), silver in the shot put and fourth in the long jump. She also combined with Marisa Franklin, Megan Pendley and Tayla Sparg for third in the 4x400-meter relay.
The Black and Gold girls’ other victors were Savanna Canter (100-meter hurdles, 16.89), Sparg (300-meter hurdles, 52.30) and Kristina Muller (discus, 83’2”). Canter came up just 23-hundredths of a second shy from snagging the 300-meter hurdles gold from Sparg.
Ann Carol Braswell was second in the pole vault, and Kelsey Wren third in the long jump. Tayler Blalock, Canter, Allie Gipson and Wren teamed up for second in the 4x100-meter relay.
Addison joined Cullman as squads from The Times’ coverage area with team triumphs — the Lady Dawgs lifted the small-school (1A-3A) crown — while Kayla Pruitt accompanied Kontogeorge in the local MVP club.
Pruitt was up to her usual versatile antics, flying to first in the high jump (5’) and then showing her strength with gold in the shot put (34’7.5). She was also second in the javelin and sixth in the discus.
Jessica Taylor added another first-place effort for Addison in the javelin (116’7”) to go along with a silver-worthy showing in the 100-meter hurdles. Summer Hinton rounded up second in the high jump and third in the discus, and Emee Baldwin was third in the triple jump.
Chris Smith was the young man of the hour for Hanceville, turning a quartet of top-five finishes into the top individual outing on the small-school level. The senior sprinted to silver in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, as well as the 4x100-meter relay with Eric Flanigan, Torrey Green and Jose Orozco. Smith was also fifth in the long jump, while Green aided the Dawgs’ third-place team result with third in the discus.
Cullman’s and Vinemont’s boys were runners-up in their respective team races.
The Bearcats boasted a pair of two-time winners — Kyle Norris and L.J. Patterson — and relay victories to secure second place in the large-school division.
Norris cruised to gold in the 1-mile (4:52) and 2-mile (10:29) runs, while Patterson leapt his way to the top in the 300-meter hurdles (42.74) and long jump (20’10”). Michael Bentley, Tyler Davis, Zack Kane and Patterson bested Hanceville by five-hundredths of a second in the 4x100-meter relay (45.54). Walker Caretti, Peyton Little, Norris and J.D. Warner left the field in their rear-view mirror in the 4x800-meter relay (8:58).
Caretti capped off his outing with first in the 800-meter run (2:10), as did Garrison Hill in the pole vault (12’6”).
Davis (200-meter dash), Bentley (pole vault) and Zack Rocca (triple jump) all raked in bronzes.
Bo Wright anchored Vinemont’s eventual outcome with a win in the javelin (141’8”). Kurtis Brawner was a beast in his own right, grabbing silver in the discus and bronzes in the shot put and javelin. Nathan Handley was third in the 1,600-meter run.
Holly Pond’s fast foursome of Megan Barksdale, Melissa Clingman, Mykenzie Heaton and Starsha Trimble couldn’t be bested by anyone in the 4x100-meter relay (53.21). Clingman collected bronze in the 100-meter hurdles.
Addison’s Ronnie Willette unleashed a golden heave in the shot put (46’3”).
Tori Wisner was second in the discus, and Taylor Randall third in the javelin for Vinemont’s girls.
Good Hope’s Alex Flanigan raced to third in the 200-meter dash and helped Makailey Speegle, Heather Middleton and Sierra Kinser take third in the 4x100-meter relay. The Lady Raiders’ Elena Guevara, a first-year wheelchair racer, achieved personal bests in all four of her events — the 100 meter (39.86), 200 meter (1:27), 400 meter (2:57) and shot put (3’10”).
Holly Pond’s Matt Cahoon was third in the high jump.
Medals were awarded to the top individuals regardless of classification. However, the team trophies and MVP honors were broken up into small- and large-school categories.
% Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 138 or at email@example.com.