The Scottsboro varsity boys cross country team, which holds a No. 9 national ranking, is favored to win another state title at this weekend’s 2020 AHSAA Cross Country Championships.

Despite being the title favorite, Scottsboro coach Luke Robinson said his runners approach the meet with something-to-prove attitudes.

“The motivation these boys display week in and week out is fun to watch,” Robinson said. “They had a perfect score (in the sectional) and set a school record for 1-5 (time) average, and they were disappointed that it wasn’t faster. They weren’t satisfied. They stay hungry.”

Part of that hunger is to prove themselves in Class 6A. The Wildcats, who won the last four 5A state titles, are “excited about the opportunity to try win one at another level,” Robinson said. “Our boys were excited about us moving up because they knew the competition would be stiffer.”

The AHSAA Cross Country Championships are Saturday at the Oakville Indian Mounds Park and Museum near Moulton. The Class 6A Boys Race is the final one of the day, starting at 12:10 p.m.

Running for Scottsboro are Benson Atkins, Cooper Atkins, Zach Avenel, Noah Bonsall, Rex Green, Evan Hill, Josh Hill, Hayden Judge, Hamilton Richardson and Brady Thomas.

Scottsboro will contend with Cullman and Homewood among others for the team title.

In the individual state title race, Homewood’s Crawford Hope is the top-seed while Scottsboro’s Cooper Atkins, the 2019 Class 5A individual state title winner, is seeded second.

“Cooper is going to go after him,” Robinson said. “Zach Avenel is seeded fifth, but I think we could have three or four runners in the top-five.”

Robinson said Scottsboro “is in a good spot” entering the state meet.

“If we bring our ‘A’ game, I think we’ll be good,” he said. “The boys need to show up and do what their supposed to do.”

Girls

The Scottsboro girls cross country team is seeded third entering Saturday’s Class 6A Girls Race (11:10 a.m.) behind Mountain Brook and Homewood.

The Wildcats have “ground to make up,” Robinson said, but “it’s smaller than what Mountain Brook and Homewood think it is. Both Mountain Brook and Homewood have elite No. 1 runners, but their No. 2-5 runners’ times aren’t unbeatable. Our girls have (trained through meets). Our last big workout (was Monday). We’ll be opening it up (on fresh legs) Saturday.”

Running for Scottsboro will be Emma Bradford, Cambree Bradford, Smith Bradford, Ally Campbell, Gracy Coley, Maddie Gossett, Makenna Howes, Candence Laughlin, Mia Martin and Lauren Paradise.

Robinson said the Wildcats have what it takes to hoist a fourth straight state championship.

“Our girls are very consistent,” he said. “Our (No.) 1 through 10, we’re one of the few that everybody can run under 22 minutes. It’s just going to come down to that last mile and who is willing to hurt more, who hates to lose the most and who wants it more.”

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