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Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sparkman Cross Country Twitter

Cross Country Enjoys First Out Of State Meet

The Sparkman cross county team had their first out of state meet on Sept 3rd.

The meet is referred to as Twilight because the first races start at sundown, eventually leading into the dark night as the meet progresses. A four hour trip had to be taken before the event, with Memphis being a bit of a distance from Huntsville. It was cloudy and sunny skies at arrival, though it was not there to last.

“The bus ride there was fun, and it was a good experience running in a different state and seeing all of the good runners from different states, but the bus ride back felt super long and exhausting,” junior Matthew Hiles said.

Lightning eventually lit up the sky, and was foretelling the hard rain to come, as it began to pour 15 minutes after. The lightning posed a threat to the meet, as a delay for the last race was issued, but the race still went on. The participating runners did have to run in the hard rain for a while, making the course a bit more rough due to the forming mud.

The Twilight run is one of the biggest meets that have been held,  with more than 100 teams showing up from all over the country. Head coach Geary Howell signed the team up for the meet because he felt that the team would benefit the team, mainly since it was not local with the same teams competing from the area.

“It is the largest meet in the Southeast and allows our runners to gain exposure from colleges and universities. The meet was a college invitational as well as a high school meet,” Howell said.

For this meet, the Senators competed in the boys and girls varsity, boys and girls junior varsity (both 5000 meters) and boys and girls middle school 2000 meter run.

In the boys 5000 meter varsity race, Will Douglas from Camden Central took first, with a time of 15 minutes and 41 seconds. In second, Adam Snoke from Lutheran South, with a time of 15 minutes and 50 seconds. In third, Joseph Bariola from Lakeside High, with a time of 15 minutes and 58 seconds.

For Sparkman, Tayeshon King took first, 107th overall, with a time of 18 minutes and 14 seconds. In second, John Murray with a time of 18 minutes and 50 seconds, 163rd overall. In third, Casey Campbell 

with a time of 19 minutes and 22 seconds, 187th overall.

“It was a fun experience, I feel like if the team knew the course more, we would have run better, however,” senior Casey said.

In the girls 5000 meter varsity race, Grace Tyson from Lafayette got first, with a time of 18 minutes and 22 seconds. In second was Lauren Rutlin from Saint George Independent High, with a time of 18 minutes and 50 seconds. In third was Natalie Barnard from Lafayette, with a time of 18 minutes and 59 seconds.

For Sparkman, Samantha Menikheim got first, 12h overall, with a time of 20 minutes and 5 seconds. In second was Addie Doggett, 118th overall, with a time of 23 minutes and 3 seconds. In third was Caroline Doggett, 165th overall, with a time of 25 minutes and 5 seconds.

“Well, considering the weather, I think the team did really well. The JV in particular did fantastic. The pouring down rain hurt the varsity a little bit, but I think it was a good race overall,” junior Samantha Menikheim said.

In the boys 5000 meter junior varsity race, Dylan Hunter from Christian Br. got first, with a time of 16 minutes and 58 seconds. In second, Baily Loomis from Pearl High, with a time of 18 minutes and 1 second. In third, Kyle Craig miles from Jackson High, with a time of 18 minutes, 1 second, and 85 milliseconds.

For Sparkman, Davon Agee got first, 76th overall, with a time of 20 minutes and 43 seconds. In second, Jacob Ellis, 129th overall, with a time of 22 minutes and 5 seconds. In third, Wyatt Harris, 141 overall, with a time of 22 minutes and 16 seconds.

“The race was set up in a lap format, which was unusual but helped us pace as we knew where we were on the laps. It ended in a stadium which was great for spectating and helped us get hyped for the last kick at the end,” sophomore  Jacob Ellis said.

In the girls 5000 meter junior varsity race, Maui Boles from Lakeland Pre. got first, with a time of 21 minutes and 21 seconds. In second, Kat Martha Jessop from Houston High, with a time of 21 minutes and 31 seconds. In third, Madeline Moore from Pearl High, with a time of 21 minutes and 41 seconds.

For Sparkman, Sara Zollinger got first, 34th overall, with a time of 24 minutes and six seconds. In second, Josie Willis, 46th overall, with a time of 24 minutes and 46 seconds. In third, Whitney Philpott, 81st overall, with a time of 27 minutes and 58 seconds.

“I think  JV did great for their first 5k of the season. We saw some really fast times from Sara Zollinger. The race conditions set us up for some really fast times. The course was really flat, the weather was great, and it was awesome getting to run under the light,” freshman Whitney Philpott said.

The middle school runners repped the team well in their first big meet of the program. Eighth grader Reed Perry got first, 47th overall, with a time of seven minutes and 25 seconds. In second, Nick Pressnell, 49th overall, with a time of seven minutes and 25 seconds. In third, Colton Zimmerman, 70th overall, with a time of seven minutes and 53 seconds. Isabel Jones got first, fourth overall, with a time of seven minutes and 27 seconds. In second, Ella Harmon, 41st overall, with a time of eight minutes and 33 seconds. In third, Cooper Campbell, 55th overall, with a time of eight minutes and 50 seconds.

“I think we did great and it was good seeing lots of tough competition and new teams we had never seen before. It was also on 1.2 miles for JV, which was even better. I loved getting to travel out of state to compete,” seventh grader Cooper said.

 

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