Gus Hembree can still remember how the Pisgah girls cross country team was disappointed with its sectional runner-up finish in 2020.
And for the past year, winning the title has been one of the Eagles’ goals.
Pisgah achieved that goal Thursday, claiming the 2021 Class 1A-2A Girls Section 4 Race championship at John Hunt Park in Huntsville.
“They set their goal to win sectionals,” Hembree said. “Rhylee Bell has stepped as a senior the last couple of weeks. She has pushed the younger girls and our 1-6 split (between runners) is the best we have ever had.”
The win advanced the Eagles to next weekend’s AHSAA Cross Country Championships.
Pisgah closed with a winning low team score of 40 points. Sand Rock (56 points) was the sectional runner-up while Athens Bible (95) and Falkville (111) rounded out the top-four teams that earned state meet berths. Cedar Bluff (129) finished fifth while Lindsay Lane (133) was sixth and Section (137) was seventh.
Pisgah’s top-five scoring runners all finished in the top-13 and its top-six runners finished in the top-15.
Eighth-grader Nevaeh Evans finished second overall in the 5K race with a time of 21:53.83 for Pisgah while Bell was sixth (22:57.75), eighth-grader Kayana Stewart eighth (23:03.42), seventh-grader Katie Edwards 11th (23:30.48), seventh-grader Destiny Lewis 13th (23:51.28), freshman Emma Sisk 15th (23:55.50), junior Kimberly Miller 21st (25:20.79), junior Laura Allbritton 26th (26:13.77), eighth-grader Addyson Barnett 30th (27:04.31) and senior Jazimine Wilson 32nd (27:20.10).
The Class 1A-2A Girls State Championship Race during the 2021 AHSAA Cross Country Championships at Oakville Indian Mounds Park near Moulton is Nov. 6 at 10:30 a.m.
Section — The Lions will send a pair of first-year runners to the AHSAA Cross Country Championships after seventh-graders Taylor Bell and Kerby Brooks.
They qualified as individuals for state by being one of the top-six finishing runners not on the roster of a top-four finishing team during Thursday’s Class 1A-2A Girls Section 4 Race.
Bell finished 16th with a time of 24:05.12 while Brooks was 17th with a time of 24:13.48.
“Kerby and Taylor have been training hard and have been running with intensity. The sectionals was only the second meet of the season that they have run the 3.1-mile course (5K) and they both set new (personal records),” said Section coach Melissa McCutchen. “This is a great accomplishment for our student-athletes and a great accomplishment for our program.”
Meanwhile, Section finished seventh in the girls team standings with a score of 137.
Along with Bell’s and Brooks’ finishes, Ava Barnes finished 37th (29:00.06) for the Lions while JoAnna Newsom was 39th (29:37.72) and Hadley Crawford was 48th (32:05.96) and Ellie Reed was 53rd (36:14.74).
Skyline — The Vikings had two runners race as individuals during Class 1A-2A Girls Section 4 Race. Katie Roach finished 27th (26:49.38) for Skyline while Kaylee Bullock was 52nd (34:00.39).