MOULTON — A highly competitive atmosphere with chilly conditions greeted several Shoals area teams and individuals Saturday morning at the AHSAA state cross country meet at the Oakville Indian Mounds.
Temperatures never passed 45 degrees during the morning event.
For runners like Muscle Shoals sophomore Mary Anna Trimble, the goal was plain and simple during her run that landed her 14th in the 6A girls division.
“I really wanted to get All-State and a top 15 finish,” said Trimble.” That definitely motivated me and so did my parents and all my supporters.”
A top 15 finish guaranteed each individual in their division a medal. Trophies were handed out to the state champions and the runner-up teams.
Other runners, like Rogers’ Raleigh Stamps and Florence’s Mary Claire Ridgeway, had their own personal motivations.
“It means so much,” an emotional Stamps said of his top-five 4A boys finish in the final race of his high school career. ” Since it was my last race I was motivated to leave it all out there and I wanted to look back on it and say, I gave it all I got.”
For Ridgeway, the idea of just being able to race and compete again after returning from injuries sustained earlier this year, year gave her all the push she needed for her 15th place finish in 7A girls.
“I’ve been through a lot of time off due to some injuries so it’s nice to run again,” said Ridgeway.” It was about going out there and running my hardest and feeling strong again because I’ve ran a lot injured so it was nice to run healthy and not have any injuries.”
The conditions of the weather was one factor. The other factor came with the runners finding a balance that kept them at a solid pace. In particular, a section at the course known as “The Snake” forced some runners to adjust on the fly.
Rogers girls runner Jaycee Biffle finished 12th individually in 4A girls, but had to quickly adjust at “The Snake” in order to maintain her pace.
“Well, I started to adjust how fast I was going over on the snake,” Biffle said. “I wanted to make sure to get a better place and make sure that none of the pack behind me got ahead of me.”
Though the Florence High School boys didn’t finish as a state champion or runner-up, the idea of competing at a high level of competition in 7A and representing a community was all they needed to keep them going.
“It felt great,” said David Rubolin.” I’ve been dreaming of this moment for so long to be able to represent Florence well and finish on top and that’s why we came out here today.”
His teammate Trey Hurt, the team’s top runner, agreed completely.
“I was so honored to go out there and represent today, Hurt said.” These guys are the best of the best and they will really bring out your best when you’re racing with them.”
Other top local finishers included Lexington’s Valerie Grosso, who finished seventh in Class 3A, with Lauderdale County’s Addison Embry in ninth place.
On 3A boys, Lauderdale County’s Colby Corum was 19th. In Class 1A-2A, Hatton’s Ally Amerson and Alondra Aranda were seventh and ninth respectively. In the boys division, Hatton’s Carson Graves was 11th and teammate Jairo Lopex was 15th. Belgreen’s Canaan Stough was 19th.
In Class 4A girls competition, Brooks runner Mallory Cole finished in 14th place.