The Scottsboro varsity girls and boys track and field teams did not get the right to defend their Class 5A Outdoor Track and Field State Championships this spring because of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
Next spring, the Scottsboro teams won’t get the opportunity, either.
Scottsboro is moving up to Class 6A for the 2021 and 2022 outdoor track and field seasons, but head coach Luke Robinson doesn’t expect that to be a challenge that intimidates his teams.
“I think our (athletes) will be up to 6A,” Robinson said. “It’s obviously tougher, but I think as competitors, you like that challenge and I think we will do a lot of growing from it.”
Scottsboro will compete in Class 6A Section 4 against Arab, Athens, Buckhorn, Columbia, Cullman, Decatur, Fort Payne, Hartselle, Hazel Green, Muscle Shoals, Southside and Springville. Along with Scottsboro, Arab, Southside and Springville are also moving up from Class 5A. The rest of the sectional members competed in 6A the past two seasons.
Robinson said there “are some really good teams” in the sectional and Scottsboro will face “more well-rounded” competition in the 13-team sectional.
The site of the sectional meet has not been set, though Robinson did confirm Scottsboro was interested in continuing to host AHSAA sectionals.
Class 4A Section 4 — The North Jackson track and field team will compete in a large sectional the next two years as its athletes pursue state appearances.
North Jackson is one of 18 teams that will compete in Class 4A Section 4. The Chiefs are joined in the sectional by Brooks, Cherokee County, DAR, Etowah, Good Hope, Hanceville, Madison Academy, New Hope, Oneonta, Priceville, Randolph, Rogers, St. John Paul II, West Limestone, Westminster Christian and Wilson.
Etowah dropped down from Class 5A while Hanceville, New Hope and Westminster Christian all moved up from Class 3A.
“We’re very excited about the opportunity to compete against some of the best teams in the state in our (sectional),” said North Jackson track and field coach Joe Hollis. “Our students get to compete against great competition and display their skills against very established programs in the North. It will be very challenging, but we embrace the challenge.”
Class 2A Section 4 — North Sand Mountain and Section welcome another Jackson County rival to Class 2A track and field sectional competition.
Pisgah, which has traditionally sent numerous athletes to the Class 3A state meet each year, drops to 2A next season to join rivals NSM and Section in Section 4.
Joining NSM, Pisgah and Section in the sectional are Cleveland, Colbert County, Falkville, Gaston, Lexington, Locust Fork, Mars Hill Bible, St. Bernard, Sand Rock, Southeastern, Tanner, Westbrook Christian, West End and Whitesburg Christian.
Pisgah, Lexington and Locust Fork are dropping down from Class 3A while Mars Hill Bible and Falkville are moving up from 1A. St. Bernard is a Class 1A school but is competing in Class 2A because of the AHSAA’s competitive-balance rule for private schools.
“We are excited about this new 2A adventure,” said Pisgah track and field coach Gus Hembree. “Traditionally some of the best teams in the state are in this sectional. Whitesburg Christian, Falkville, St. Bernard and Colbert County have been strong state wide in track and field for the last several years. As tough as our 3A sectional has been, we aren’t catching a break moving down to this 2A sectional. The level of competitiveness among this group is as tough as any in the state.”
With 17 teams, Class 2A Section 4 provides plenty of competition, NSM coach Scott Hall said.
“Additionally, one of the stronger facets of our teams for the last couple of years has been our boys’ distance runners,” Hall said. “Adding Pisgah, St. Bernard and Westbrook Christian to the mix with an always tough Whitesburg Christian will make it very tough for our 1600- and 3200-meter competitors. Judging from what Mars Hill Bible has done in just a few years in football I can only imagine that they will bring some outstanding athletes in track and field as well. And Colbert County has always had a lot of fast athletes. I think the new section will be even tougher than what we have already been facing.”
Class 1A Section 4 — While other Jackson County teams saw numerous changes to their track and field sectionals for the next two seasons, Skyline and Woodville will compete in a sectional that looks nearly the same as the past two seasons.
Skyline and Woodville will continue to compete in Class 1A Section 4 with Appalachian, Athens Bible, Coosa Christian, Donoho, Lindsay Lane and Ragland. The sectional’s only change was Cornerstone Christian replacing Faith Christian.
“There aren’t any big changes in our sectional these next two years and the actual teams aren’t going to be a whole lot different either,” said Woodville coach Bo Harding.
Skyline coach Rhonda Saint said the familiarity of the athletes and opposing teams is a plus for Skyline.
“Faith Christian moved out of our section and Cornerstone moved in,” she said, “(but) the other teams remain the usual competitors for us.”
AHSAA 2021-22 OUTDOOR TRACK AND FIELD SECTIONALS
Class 1A Section 4: Skyline, Woodville, Appalachian, Athens Bible, Coosa Christian, Cornerstone, Donoho, Lindsay Lane, Ragland
Class 2A Section 4: NSM, Pisgah, Section, Cleveland, Colbert County, Falkville, Gaston, Lexington, Locust Fork, Mars Hill Bible, St. Bernard, Sand Rock, Southeastern, Tanner, Westbrook Christian, West End, Whitesburg Christian
Class 4A Section 4: North Jackson, Brooks, Cherokee County, DAR, Etowah, Good Hope, Hanceville, Madison Academy, New Hope, Oneonta, Priceville, Randolph, Rogers, St. John Paul II, West Limestone, Westminster Christian, West Morgan and Wilson
Class 6A Section 4: Scottsboro, Arab, Athens, Buckhorn, Columbia, Cullman, Decatur, Fort Payne, Hartselle, Hazel Green, Muscle Shoals, Southside, Springville