Mountain Brook Invitational
Vestavia Hills' James Sweeney, Homewood's Will Stone and Mountain Brook's Charlie Slaughter battle at the front of the boys 1 mile race on Saturday afternoon at the Mountain Brook Invitational.
More than 75 teams and 2,000 athletes descended upon Mountain Brook High School this past Friday and Saturday for the Mountain Brook Invitational track and field meet.
The two-day spectacle, which included both middle school and high school competitions, is revered as one of the most prestigious events of the outdoor season.
It lived up to its billing.
The 2017 Class 7A state indoor champion Hoover High boys and 6A indoor champion Homewood High girls relied on depth to propel them to team titles against talented fields. The Buccaneer boys totaled 127.5 points to runner-up Central-Phenix City's 83. Hewitt-Trussville finished third with 76 points.
The Homewood girls scored 112.5 points to outpace Mountain Brook and Hoover. The Spartan and Buccaneer girls tied for second at 102.
"It just makes you feel good in a sense of, being towards the end of the season, athletes stepping up when they need to step up," Homewood head coach Tom Esslinger said.
Standout performances littered the results sheet. Local athletes shined.
Hoover's Caitlyn Little and Hewitt-Trussville's Noah Igbinoghene were named meet MVPs. Little recorded first-place finishes in the 100-meter dash, 100-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles. Her victories in the 100 dash and 100 hurdles came less than 15 minutes apart.
"I'm pretty happy with the results," said Little, speaking between breaths after completing the 100 sweep.
Little broke meet records in each of her hurdles races, eclipsing marks held previously by former stars Brittley Humphrey (100, Hoover) and Christina Chambers (300, Cullman). Little ran 13.65 seconds for the 100 hurdles and 43.12 for the 300 hurdles. A senior, she had not run a 300 hurdles race since her freshman year prior to the weekend's meet.
Mountain Brook Invitational
Oak Mountain's Nicole Payne won the 200 meters and 400 meters at the Mountain Brook Invitational this past weekend.
Igbinoghene nearly matched Little's trio of triumphs. He broke his own meet record in the triple jump with a leap of 49 feet, 4.75 inches, won the long jump (23-3.5) and placed second in the 100 meters (10.83).
Little and Igbinoghene were two of four local athletes to win multiple events. Oak Mountain's Nicole Payne (200, 400) and Spain Park's Christian Strong (110 hurdles, 300 hurdles) also prevailed in their respective disciplines.
Mountain Brook's Anna Grace Morgan came close. The Spartan senior took first in the 2 mile (11:24.51) and second in the 1 mile (5:06.42). She lost to Huntsville's Abbey Zane in the mile by just over a second.
"I'm not happy with my performances, but I do think I can use them to help me over the next couple weeks and for state," Morgan said.
Vestavia Hills junior James Sweeney also nearly clinched gold in the two distance events. He won the 2 mile in 9:33.75 and placed third in the mile (4:25.68). Homewood sophomore Will Stone took second (4:23.86) in the event, while Southside-Gadsden's Hunter Nails took first (4:21.12).
"My training the past two weeks has noticeably been the best training I've had my whole career," Sweeney said. "Stuff's been falling into place."
Sweeney's teammate, Walter Thomas, identified with his remarks. The Rebels' senior threw 57-2.75 to capture the shot put title. It was his farthest heave since the 2016 state outdoor meet, which he won at 59-0.5
"It was a lot of adrenaline and a lot of coaching," Thomas said of his breakthrough. "This is a good place to be right now."
Hewitt-Trussville won the middle school boys division, while Bumpus won the middle school girls division. Hewitt's Nathan Knox and Sydney White were named MVPs.
Mountain Brook High head track and field coach Michael McGovern, the event organizer, said his home meet went about as well as it could. He credited his staff for making the weekend possible.
"It was great. We got a lot of compliments," McGovern said. "I think people enjoy coming to this meet, and we enjoy putting it on."
Other notable local event winners
High school girls
800 meters: Lily Hulsey (Mountain Brook), 2:14.92
High jump: Caroline Lawrence (Homewood), 5-4
Long jump: Genesis Jones (Hoover), 17-3.25
Triple jump: Adrienne Lewis (Clay-Chalkville), 36-10
Javelin: Emorie Long (Pelham), 119-1
High school boys
400 meters: Jake Diggs (Hewitt-Trussville), 48.07, meet record
800 meters: Griffin Riley (Mountain Brook), 1:54.83
Pole vault: James Courson (Hoover), 15 feet
Javelin: Ashton Domingue (Briarwood Christian), 192-4