Morgan Davis of Saraland
By Arthur L. Mack for DyeStat
GULF SHORES, ALA., MAY 6 — No one expected this.
Two weather delays, which forced meet officials to scramble to accommodate rescheduled events, plus a ton of meet records, marked the 2023 Alabama High School Athletic Association Track & Field Championships held for Classes 7A to 4A at the Gulf Shores Sportsplex.
At least 14 meet records were broken or tied, and two powerhouses — Class 7A Hoover and Class 5A Scottsboro — dominated their respective classifications with program sweeps.
The Hoover boys won their fourth title in the last five years and 10th in the last 13, while the girls won their third straight and 10th in the last 12 seasons.
The Bucs defeated Vestavia Hills 146.5 to 89.5 to take the boys title, with Hewitt-Trussville (54), Huntsville (54) and Auburn (51) rounding out the top five. On the girls side, Hoover scored 125 points to defeat Chelsea (79). Hewitt-Trussville had 71, with Auburn (69) and Foley (49) rounding out the top five.
“It’s just a blessing and I’m grateful to be here in front of Hoover, following the footsteps of Devon Hind and keep the tradition alive,” Hoover head coach Chris Schmidt said. “I was very, very pleased. You know me, I like to nickel and dime and I don’t like to focus on just an individual, but focus on the team.”
Hoover stacked nickels and dimes all over the meet, with a lot of other spare change. The team got double wins from Jay Avery in the long jump (23 feet, 5 inches) and triple jump (47-8), as well as a record-setting performance in the javelin from George Mann (198-8). Hoover also got a big win in the 400 from sophomore Demarion Gardner (48.08), the pole vault from Collin Pate (16-0), and a win in the 4×400 (3:17.25).
Hoover’s girls got a lone first-place individual finish from Gabrielle Washington in the 400 (56.15), but the Bucs placed in numerous other events, and won the 4×100 and 4×400 relays with times of 47.35 and 3:53.03.
“They ran well, and they were a few seconds off from what they’ve been running earlier in the year,” Schmid said. “But it’s been a long weekend and with the weather and all I was very pleased. We have great kids. We have a great coaching staff and they believe in the process.”
Besides Mann’s record-setting performance in the javelin, Vestavia Hills set a new state meet record in the boys 4×800 (7:44.67). Vestavia’s Alex Leath — who won the 800…
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