The Scottsboro track and field teams started their quest for state team championships with individual state championships on Thursday.
Scottsboro athletes won two individual event titles while other top-eight finishes helped the SHS girls and boys teams start strong on Day 1 of the AHSAA's Class 5A Track and Field Championships in Gulf Shores.
Cooper Atkins started the day for Scottsboro by posting a sprint-to-the-finish state-championship victory in the Class 5A Boys 1600-meter run. Later in the day, UAH signee Lauren Hamm capped her high school career in the pole vault by setting a personal-record to win the state crown in the event.
Scottsboro led the Class 5A boys team standings after Day 1 with 33 points while Valley was second (26) and Etowah (18) and Center Point (18) were tied for third. Meanwhile, Arab led the 5A girls standings with 24.70 points while UMS-Wright was second (22) and Scottsboro third (20.70).
The meet continued Friday and concludes today at the Gulf Shores Sports Complex.
Scottsboro scored points in five completed Class 5A Boys events on Day 1 and three completed 5A girls events.
Hamm entered the 5A girls pole vault as the favorite with a seed-height of 10 feet. She hit that mark on her first try and was the state champion after Arab's Jenna Hill couldn't clear that mark on her three attempts.
"I tried not to really think about (being the No. 1 seed) because I didn't want to be too confident or jinx myself. I just didn't want to worry about what place I'd get and just go do what I normally do," Hamm said.
Hamm cleared 10 feet, 6 inches after already securing the state title and then cleared 11 feet, a new PR.
"I felt like I could (clear 11 feet) just from warm-ups and the previous few practices," Hamm said.
Hamm came up short on three attempts at 11-04, which would have set a new Scottsboro girls pole vault school record.
Makayla Keel also reached the medal stand for Scottsboro in the pole vault, tying for third with vault of 9-06. Scottsboro's Isabella Noble grabbed some points she wasn't seeded for with a fifth-place finish (5:29.03) in the 1600-meter run while Alyssa Bell scored points in the high jump with a sixth-place finish (4-06). Hamm also posted a 14th-place finish in the high jump (4-06) while McCall Chandler (5:43.78) and Ally Campbell (5:44.15) finished 13th and 14th respectively in the 1600. Scottsboro's 4x100-meter relay team of Emily Littles, Lauren Paradise, Emma Hancock and Isabelle Flores posted a 10th-place finish (51.94 seconds).
Earlier in the day, the Class 5A boys 1600-meter run put Scottsboro in front in the Class 5A boys team standings.
Atkins won the state title in the race — the sophomore also won the 1600 at the Indoor Track and Field Championships in February — with a time of 4:24.40 while teammates Rex Green (4:31.19) and Hayden Judge (4:32.82) finished third and fourth respectively.
Atkins overtook race leader Myles Stoots (4:24.56) of Faith Christian with 200 meters left and then won a sprint to the finish line.
"That's one of my favorite things about races is when it sets up when I have the energy to kick like that on the last lap," Atkins said. "It's taxing on your body, but its the funniest way to race. The crowd cheering like that hypes me up. It feels great (to win). Coming off (finishing) third in cross country, I wanted a first place finish (in indoor and outdoor track and field). The one-mile (1600) turned out to be it."
Scottsboro then got a state runner-up finish from junior Nathan Jones in the shot put (45 feet, 10.25 inches) while Nate Boleware added more points with a seventh-place finish (20-08) in the long jump and Sam Manning did the same with a seventh-place finish in the javelin (156-00) . Butler Bell (19-09) finished 10th and Cam Bass (18-05) was 16th in the long jump while Boleware (41-08.50) and Bell (39-11.50) finished 11th and 16th respectively in the triple jump. Antwan Fennell (42-01) finished 12th and Caleb Anderson (41-08) placed 18th in the shot put while Jones (138-10) finished 15th in the javelin.
Jones said Scottsboro athletes entered the state meet with a simple approach to their respective events as both teams pursue state championships.
"Everybody just go out and do the best they can," he said.