Solid finish at state

Kelleigh Joiner was Pisgah's top finisher in the Class 3A state cross country meet on Saturday. Pisgah finished sixth in the team standings.


The Pisgah girls and boys cross country teams recorded a pair of Top-10 finishes during the Class 3A state races.

The PHS girls finished sixth and the PHS boys placed ninth in their respective divisions at the AHSAA Cross Country Championships at Oakville Indian Mounds Park and Museum on Saturday.

“Overall I was pleased with my kids,” Pisgah head coach Gus Hembree. “Six of my girls had season [personal records], and three more were within 10 seconds of a PR. If you PR in the state meet, it is hard to complain about the results.”

T.R. Miller won the 3A girls state championship while American Christian Academy of Tuscaloosa won the 3A boys crown.

Pisgah’s girls closed with a score of 186, 41 points back of fifth-place finisher Montgomery Academy. Pleasant Valley (86) was the state runner-up while American Christian (99) was third and Bayside Academy (125) of Mobile was fourth.

Kelleigh Joiner was Pisgah’s top finisher, just missing all-state honors (top-15 finishers) with an 18th-place finish (21:40.06). Kaylynn Morgan finished 23rd (21:49.52) for the Eagles while Madison Myers was 62nd (23:20.98), Emma Ellison 73rd (23:47.73), Layla Hatfield 75th (23:58.45), Lauren Peek 76th (24:00.18), Kristen York 81st (24:09.63), Rhylee Bell 84th (24:22.92), Elizabeth Grace Wilson 88th (24:34.99) and Madison Phillips 110th (25:57.09).

Meanwhile, the Pisgah boys posted a score of 210, nine back of eight-place finisher Elkmont. Pleasant Valley (55) was the runner-up to American Christian. Bayside Academy (88) was third while T.R. Miller was fourth (133), J.B. Pennington (137) fifth, Houston Academy (150) sixth and Montgomery Academy (158) seventh.

Pisgah’s boys team had to overcome the loss of its No. 1 runner, Ben Hembree, who suffered a severe fall during the race and was unable to finish. Gus Hembree said his son was OK and added that Ben, who also is a starting guard for the PHS varsity boys basketball team, has no lasting affects from the fall.

“He tripped over a root, hit his head and knocked himself out,” Gus Hembree said. “He is fine now, a few scrapes and bruised both physically and pride. With the pace he was on, we would have finished three or so spots higher, but that’s why you run the race.” 

Jase Moore was Pisgah’s top finisher, placing 38th with a time of 18:38.51. Garrett Ellison followed in 47th place (18:55.38) while Ridge Medlock was 51st (19:04.73), Tanner Baine 63rd (19:24.28), Zach Cornelison 85th (20:01.51), Hunter Myers 102nd (20:55.82), Trey Barrentine 107th (21:07.33), Holden Goff 132nd (24:18.66) and Bailey Johnson 136th (32:12.03).

Hembree thanked his teams’ seniors for their efforts throughout their six-year careers.

“This is the ninth season for Pisgah cross country, my three seniors, EG [Wilson], Ben and Jase, have been apart of six of those,” Gus Hembree said. “Every major win in school history has had these kids on it.  It will be hard to replace their times and leadership. These three have been solid for six years and will be sorely missed.”

Class 1A-2A

Skyline’s Troy Saint posted a 42nd-place finish (18:51.46) in the Class 1A-2A boys state race while teammate Nathan Olinger finished 63rd (19:26.53).

“I was pleased with both Troy and Nathan’s performances at state. Neither set a PR, but they both ran a really good race,” Skyline coach Rhonda Saint said.  “The best runners in the state were there Saturday. I was very pleased to have both boys finish where they did.  Overall, I’m happy with the way our season went. 

“I’m already looking forward to next season. Troy is the only senior our team had. Everyone else will return next year and hopefully we will see times continue to decrease.” 

In the girls 1A-2A race, Section’s Jennifer Vega finished 77th (24:43.29) while teammate Tirsah Morris was 104th (27:23.15).


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