The Brindlee Mountain girls finished second in the 3A, Section 4 cross country meet at Scottsboro on Friday morning to qualify for Saturday’s 3A State Meet at Oakville Indian Mounds Park at Oakville.
Coach Evan Lemons called what his team did an upset.
“Honestly, I had been crunching numbers and trying to figure out a way that our girl’s team could qualify for state as a team and nothing I plugged in seemed to work out,” Lemons said. “Every virtual meet I ran us in had us finishing fifth so I was a nervous wreck all week leading up to the race.”
But the Lady Lions did step up, finishing second to Colbert Heights to grab a state berth. Chantzley Kirkland (6th), Savanna Avelar (7th) and Abbey Mooneyham (10th) all finished in the Top 10.
BMHS did not field a full boys team but Colton Hall finished 27th overall and Joey Goosetree 30th to qualify for the state as individuals.
The 3A girls race Saturday begins at 10:50 a.m.
“Our ladies are gamers,” Lemons said. “During our pre-race huddle talk and prayer, I told the girls that this race could undo anything negative that we had had all season, that all our underclassmen we not running for just them, but for our three seniors (Jasmine, Savanna and Carrie), who have qualified for state every single year they have run.
“We also talked about the cold and how we practiced every morning at 5:45 a.m., so it was the perfect storm for us to have the day we did.
“I had no idea what the results were. I was scared to look, honestly. I got a text with a screenshot of the results from Chantzley’s mom right before the boy’s race and shared the news with them that the girls had finished second and nearly won the race for a fourth consecutive year.
Jasmine Avelar who had been injured the majority of the season, finished 17th, passing four girls in the last 100 meters. Carrie Cooper was the Lady Lions’ fifth runner, finishing 30th with Adriana Hernandez and Alyssa Grider coming in just behind her at 33rd and 34th.
“Every girl ran season bests today and that is exactly how it is supposed to be,” Lemons said.
Brindlee Mountain ran two eighth graders and one seventh grader in the boys race.
Both Hall and Goosetree ran personal bests to take berths in the state. John Paul Taymon ended his season with a PR as well but fell just short of qualifying as an individual.
“I have been apart of some successful teams recently for our cross country teams but I’m not sure I’ve ever been this happy about a second-place finish and team qualifying as I am for this team and those individual qualifiers,” Lemons said.