The Arab girls cross country team finished fourth in the Class 5A, Section 4 meet at Scottsboro on Friday morning and qualified for the 5A state meet Saturday at Oakville Indian Mounds Park at Oakville.
Emma Stewart at 15th was the highest Arab finisher. Grace Gosline finished 20th, Delaney Maze 22nd and Julie Stapler 24th.
The Arab boys finished fifth, one point behind Guntersville (121-122) and did not qualify for state. However, Luke Sanders (12th) and Aaron Turnage (22nd) did qualify as individuals.
“Friday was almost an ideal day for racing,” said Arab coach James Schwarze. “The temperatures were in the mid 30s with low humidity. Our girls were able to come together and peak with almost every girl on the team either running a personal or season best in the meet.
“They are currently ranked fifth in the state and I think it is very realistic to expect a better finish than that this Saturday. We aren’t as fast as we have been in the past but I believe that we are stronger than we have been with our front four all running together as they are.”
The Scottsboro boys took the top five spots to easily win their race. Arab’s boys just missed.
“Our boys came up one point short and that point was decided by a 20th of one second,” Schwarze said. “Last year was the first time that Arab, in nearly a decade, sent a boys cross country team to compete at the state level. We graduated five seniors and we had to dig deep this year to fill the boys roster with four junior high runners.
“When the season started, and knowing how strong our section is, I didn’t think that it was even in the realm of possibilities for our boys to get back there this year. I’m amazed at how far this boy’s team has come in such a short while. They have finished their season currently ranked ninth in the state, which is an accomplishment that they can be proud of.”