Photo: Ashville High’s Wyatt Knight took first place in the boys Class 1A-4A division at the Fairview Invitational 5K on Sept. 19. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
The Ashville High boys and girls’ cross country teams are quietly making a name for themselves this season.
The girls won their third meet of the year and the boys finished third in the Class 1A-4A division at the Fairview Invitational 5K last Saturday.
Five AHS girls finished in the top 20 out of 86 runners to clinch the first-place trophy, led by freshman Taylor Knight’s runner-up time of 20:02.95. Her time, which was a personal record, broke senior Meghan McCarthy’s school record set on the same course two years ago.
“I don’t think that Taylor was aware that she had the potential to break the school record,” said AHS cross country coach Michele Rogers. “She was really just focusing on beating the girl who won the race (Ider’s Makinley Traylor). Taylor works hard, is very humble and she’s a great teammate, so we’re really proud f her.”
McCarthy came in seventh place at 21:31.01, followed by Kathleen McCarthy in 11th at 22:04.18, Emma Drinkard in 15th at 22:36.26 and Callie Stewart in 18th at 22:46.80.
The Lady Bulldogs’ average time of 21:48.24 was 38 seconds lower than runner-up Pleasant Valley.
“We wanted to make sure that we didn’t start out too fast, and everyone stuck to the strategies we talked about before the race,” said Rogers.
Knight is currently ranked fifth individually in 4A, followed by Meghan McCarthy at 15th, Kathleen McCarthy at 20th and Drinkard at 24th. As a team, the Lady Bulldogs are currently ranked second in 4A behind American Christian Academy of Tuscaloosa.
For the Ashville boys, Wyatt Knight won his second event of the season, clocking in with a PR time of 16:26.33 out of 141 participants. Knight, who finished eight seconds ahead of runner-up Cayden Nelson of Pleasant Valley., broke the school record at last year’s Fairview Invitational.
“Wyatt is doing awesome, and he’s only a junior. I think that all of these guys and girls have bright futures ahead of them.”
Joe Stevens came in seventh for the Bulldogs at 17:26.44, while Clayton Knight placed eighth at 17:30.80. Ashville average time of 17:54.20 was less than two seconds behind winner Pleasant Valley (17:53.49).
In other top 20 local efforts at Fairview, Hokes Bluff’s Sam Green finished fifth in 1A-4A boys at 17:17.88, Gadsden City’s Tanner Rice came in 15th (17:51.54) out of 128 runners in Class 5A-7A boys, Hokes Bluff’s Elizabeth Edge placed 16th (22:38.28) in girls 1A-4A and Hokes Bluff’s Harrison Millander clocked in 20th (18:16.92) in boys 1A-4A.
Helped by Wyatt Knight’s win and Stevens and Clayton Knight’s top 10 performances at Fairview, the Bulldogs are ranked No. 2 in 4A behind American Christian. Wyatt Knight is ranked first individually, followed by Joe Stephens (eighth) and Clayton Knight (10th).