A week after falling just short of the best time in Houston Academy girls cross country history, Holley Hart blew past it this past Saturday.
Competing in the prestigious Jesse Owens Classic at the Oakville Mounds in north Alabama, Hart, an eighth-grader, earned a time of 21 minutes, 7.08 seconds in the 5000-meter race, breaking the previous school record by nearly a minute. Sydney Jeffcoat had the previous best of 22:03.70 at the 2013 state championships, ironically at the same course Hart ran Saturday.
On Sept. 28, Hart finished six seconds off the school record at the Battle of the Bay meet.
Hart’s time Saturday was good for eighth place in the girls Green Division out of 182 runners. Teammates Emma Morales and Lilly Jenne finished 123rd and 124th with times of 27:26.72 and 27:28.72, respectively. They were the only three HA runners at the meet.
On the boys side, Houston Academy finished seventh out of 28 teams in the boys Green Division. Gunnar Smith paced the Raiders with a 12th place time of 17:41.13, the eighth best time in school history.
Seven of the other eight HA runners had career-best times. JC Peacock (18:35.78) finished 39th, Logan Bolton (19:18.95) 66th and Zeid Yunis (19:26.81) 74th among the 293-runner field as all three earned career bests.
After Alex Nolin (20:15.16) finished 105th, Sam Middleton (20:33.28, 118th place), Alex Middleton (20:50.60, 128th), Paul Converse (20:55.08, 136th), Nate Selig (21:33.46, 162nd) and Willis McRae (21:37.58, 164th) all had career-best times.
Warner, trio of boys lead Enterprise: Enterprise also competed at the Jesse Owens Classic with Natalie Warner leading the girls team and Tyler Rathburn, Henry Templin and Brett Tessay pacing the boys.
Both genders had runners in two divisions. The Wildcat girls finished 22nd out of 30 teams in the Gold Division, the championship race, while its other team finished sixth out of 19 teams in the Red Division. The EHS boys’ top team was 23rd out of 30 teams in the Gold Division with the second group 37th out of 41 teams in the Silver Division.
Warner ran a 20:38.99 time in the 5000-meter run, finishing in 56th place in the Gold Division 211-runner field. Mirna Thompson was the next EHS girls finisher, earning a career-best time of 21:45.93 to finish 115th.
Lauren Rodgers (22:40.91, 144th), Alaura de Hoyas (22:41.55, 145th), Kayleigh Riordan (22:49.50, 149th), Sarah Winekoff (23:08.53, 157th) and Amadeua Thompson (23:46.10, 174th) were the other EHS runners in the Gold Division.
Stella Retherford, Evelyn Holmes-Smith and Emma McCrea finished in the top 25 in Red Division, which featured 207 runners. Retherford was 17th with a 23:23.23 time, Holmes-Smith was 22nd in 23:33.76 and McCrea was 25th in 23:44.45.
Other EHS girls runners in the Red Division were Samantha Segura (24:47.09, 55th), Talia De Hoyas (25:09.90, 67th), Kylie Moczynski (25:31.90, 79th) and Madisen James (25:36.52, 80th).
On the boys side, Rathburn, Templin and Tessay finished 95th, 96th and 97th, respectively, in the boys Gold Division’s 216-runner field. Rathburn had a 17:38.14 time, Templin a 17:38.52 showing and Tessay a 17:38.55 effort.
Rajon Dahale (18:20.85, 146th), Ben De Hoyas (18:34.73, 155th) and William Kim (18:44.31, 159th) were other Wildcat runners in the Gold Division.
Jacob Tillery led the EHS boys runners in the Silver Division, earning a career-best time of 18:39.10 to finish 126th in the 303-runner field. Cadis Ammons (19:37.87, 202nd), Bowden Michael (20:28.40, 241st), Kristyan deJesus (20:50.97, 250th), Daniel Barbaran-Sun (21:41.72, 271st) and Freddy Pacheco (21:42.00, 272nd) were the other runners.
Dothan sweeps Opp meet: Dothan girls and boys teams won the Opp Bobcat Invitational 2 meet last Thursday with the girls taking four of the top seven individual spots and the boys three of the top six.
The Dothan girls finished with 18 points with Kinston (56) second and Pleasant Home (57) third. Five other schools had at least one runner. On the boys side, Dothan finished with 38 points to outdistance Zion Chapel, which edged Pleasant Home for second by one point (69 to 70). Opp (111), New Brockton (134), Charles Henderson (143), Kinston (164) and Red Level (182) rounded out the field.
Individually, Charles Henderson’s Rayvion Williams and Zion Chapel’s Justin Porterfield won the races. Williams clocked in at 21:53.18 and Porterfield in 17:59.21. Porterfield’s time was less than a second off the Rebel school record of 17:58.55 set by Austin Joye in 2017.
The Dothan girls were led by Jadalie Medeiros (22:14.19), Jami Diaz (23:04.96), Kate Smith (23:41.47) and Macy Benton (23:46.87), who finished second, third, fifth and seventh.
Charles Henderson’s Taliyah Bryant (23:40.66) and Bryaira Wallace (23:46.01) finished fourth and sixth, respectively. Kinston’s Claire McReynolds (24:39.08) finished eighth with Opp’s Sarah Kate Rhodes (24:57.74) ninth and Zion Chapel’s Landra Free (25:24.63) 10th.
On the boys side, Dothan’s Trevor Shaw (18:30.27) was the runner-up, followed by New Brockton’s Alex Garrison (18:51.57), Pleasant Home’s Devon Offut (19:02.61) and Dothan’s Jonathan Medeiros (19:24.84) rounding out the top five.
Dothan’s Ethan Johnston (19:30.05), Pleasant Home’s Peyton Woodyard (19:50.89), Zion Chapel’s Landon Sawyer (20:08.75), Opp’s Lain McCollough (20:14.33) and Kinston’s Colby Tew (20:21.43) finished sixth through 10th.
In the middle school two-mile race, Dothan’s Nicholas Johnson (15:15:43) won the boys race with Charles Henderson’s Corey Johnson (17:01.18) second and Zion Chapel’s Zane Cotton (17:30.12) third.
On the girls side, Opp’s Presley Carnley (18:29.37) won the race with teammate Caroline Meyerhoff (19:47.33) second and Dothan’s Elizabeth Griffler (20:38.69) third.
Providence competes in Orlando: Providence Christian's girls and boys cross country teams compete in Orlando Friday at the 23rd Annual Disney Cross Country Classic.
The event features 80 high schools from 14 states over four classifications.
The Providence JV boys run at 2:30 p.m. in the Class 1A-2A JV Hercules Division with the varsity boys at 2:55 in the Peter Pan Division. The Eagle varsity girls run at 4:10 p.m. in the Pocahontas Division and the PCS middle school girls and boys run at 7:30 p.m. in the Open 5K Fun Run (Beast Division).
Many of the runners and their families are expected to visit Disney theme parks on Saturday.
Three teams at Smiths Station: Three Wiregrass teams are running Saturday at the Smiths Station Panther Invitational.
The three teams are Enterprise, Eufaula and Headland. Overall, 18 teams are registered, including several from nearby Georgia.