The Scottsboro cross country teams took their usual spot under the tree that is built in to the Oakville Indian Mounds Park’s amphitheater.
It was time for the Class 5A awards ceremony, and both Scottsboro teams knew the drill.
The Scottsboro girls went first and then the boys, receiving the state championship trophies for the third and fourth straight seasons respectively during AHSAA Cross Country Championships on Saturday.
“Two blue trophies,” said Scottsboro head coach Luke Robinson. “As good as it gets.”
As expected, Scottsboro dominated the Class 5A boys race.
Junior Cooper Atkins won his first individual state championship, leading a Scottsboro effort that featured six of the top-nine finishers and eight all-state finishers (Top-15) in all.
Scottsboro posted a winning low score of 26 points, well in front of runner-up Randolph’s 102.
It was the 14th state boys cross country championship for Scottsboro, tying it with Mountain Brook for second all-time behind Hoover’s 15 in AHSAA boys cross country history.
“The boys just ran a great race,” Robinson said. “More than half our in team in the top 10, and a lot of them (make) all-state. It’s exiting. We came here and did our job.”
After finishing third in each of the past two seasons, Atkins won the individual state title with a time of 15:50.16. His kick near the finish line allowed him to edge Tallassee’s Woodrow Dean (15:51.85) for the gold medal.
“I thought it was going to be a little faster race. It turned out to be strategic. I just struck with it to the end — I have a pretty good kick — that’s what I like to do,” Atkins said. “My freshmen and sophomore years I (finished) third. I just wanted to prove myself this year and go for the gold.”
Hayden Judge finished fourth (16:18.50) for Scottsboro while Evan Hill was sixth (16:29.64), Zach Avenel seventh (16:30.58), Benson Atkins eighth (16:32.39), Rex Green ninth (16:32.71), Ben Gossett 13th (16:46.84), Brady Thomas 14th (16:47.57), Noah Bonsall 18th (17:03.11) and Josue Vela Castillo 28th (17:31.91).
“We’ve always been a team about tradition and running for each other and that shows,” Atkins said. “We came out here and got it done. We want to get another one next year.”
Meanwhile, Scottsboro posted a winning-low score of 52 points to win the Class 5A girls state championship. The Wildcats finished 29 points better than runner-up Lawrence County.
Scottsboro is now tied with Mountain Brook for the most girls state cross country championships in AHSAA history with 23.
Scottsboro’s five scoring runners all earned all-state honors. Eighth-grader Ally Campbell led the Wildcats with a sixth-place finish (19:45.90) while freshman Emma Bradford was ninth (18:54.99), sophomore Maddie Gossett 10th (20:00.09), eighth-grader Smith Bradford 12th (20:19.86) and seventh-grader Mabry Bonsall 15th (20:34.17). Coley, a seventh-grader, just missed an all-state finish in 16th place (20:39.50) while Cambree Bradford was 20th (20:48.33), Lauren Paradise 33rd (21:16.39), Makenna Howes 37th (21:22.56) and Anna Carlson 42nd (21:27.45).
“The girls, that first mile, I was worried a little bit because they came out pushing (the pace),” Robinson said. “But they held on. Mile 1, we had five (runners) in front of (Lawrence County’s) second (runner), and we just held it. A lot of girls stepped up. Gracey Coley lost her shoe with like 1500 meters to go and still PR’d with no shoe. Just a great effort from our girls.”
Both Scottsboro teams had only one senior each running on Saturday — Carlson for the girls and Ben Gossett for the boys — meaning both teams will have prime opportunities to continue their title reigns next season.
“They’re just a fun group to coach,” Robinson said.