After a stellar cross country season last fall, four local standouts and one local coach have been chosen among the state’s best.
Auburn High’s Stewart Brown, Mark Foster and Elizabeth Nist and Smiths Station’s Jaxon Prins have been selected to the fourth annual AHSAA North-South All-Star Cross Country race at Auburn University-Montgomery on Wednesday, July 15. Additionally, Smiths Station coach Ron Peters has been selected as an administrative coach for the South’s boys and girls teams.
Brown was the top local male finisher in the Class 7A state meet on Nov. 8 in Oakville thanks to a 12th-place finish with a time of 16:02.36. Foster took 20th, and Prins finished 98th in a race with 182 competitors.
“It’s a huge accomplishment for me and my team. I’ve worked real hard over the years trying to prepare for this,” Prins said. “I’m very honored that Coach selected me to represent our school in the race.”
Nist, meanwhile, took 17th in the 7A girls race with a time of 19:19.22.
“It’s a very rewarding opportunity, and I’m very excited to compete against some of the best in the state,” Nist said. “This past cross country season was probably one of the most exciting ones yet. Just being able to win state and have that close competition in the state and just having our hard work pay off was rewarding. It was something I’ll cherish for years to come.”
For Peters, who has been the head coach at Smiths Station since 2007, the summer exhibition race serves as a useful tune-up for the top runners in Alabama prior to the upcoming season.
“It’s always an honor to be chosen by colleagues. The AHSAA board and the coaches committee that we’re on established this as a great tool for cross country runners,” Peters said. “For us to get the top seniors together and have a little race/test in the early season is a good opportunity for kids to get together and kind of see what is going on before the season starts. I’m looking forward to a successful meet this July.”
The South girls won last year’s race 19-36 and now own a 2-1 edge in the North-South series. The North boys upped their lead to 2-1 with a one-point 27-28 win over the South last year.
The rosters for the race are as follows:
Parker Balzli, Mountain Brook
Walker Cole, Oak Mountain
Aaron Himes, Hewitt-Trussville
Walker Huddleston, Cullman
Nathan Knox, Hewitt-Trussville
Jairo Lopez-Hernandez, Hatton
Owen Marquardt, Hoover
Collin Mayfield, Geraldine
Jake Moore, White Plains
David Rubolin, Florence
John Moore, White Plains
Michael McGovern, Mountain Brook — Admin.
Stewart Brown, Auburn High
Edward Cowles, St. Michael Catholic
Mark Foster, Auburn High
Hollis Johnson, Jr., Montgomery Catholic
Sam Leslie, Montgomery Catholic
Jaxon Prins, Smiths Station
John Michael Romanos, St. Paul’s Episcopal
Harrison Skala, Montgomery Catholic
Gunnar Smith, Houston Academy
Connor Stoots, Faith Academy
Cliff Carter, Providence Christian
Ron Peters, Smiths Station
Merritt Edwards, Altamont
Hannah Thuss, Bob Jones
Bernarda Tizapa-Robles, Cullman
Mary Claire Ridgeway, Florence
Amelia Brady, Hewitt-Trussville
Camilla Chambers, Holly Pond
Lauren Wallace, Hoover
Elizabeth Robertson, Mountain Brook
Beth Ann Tucker, Springville
Yarahy Marcelino, West Morgan
Sandra Lynch, Florence
Michael McGovern, Mountain Brook
Elizabeth Nist, Auburn High
Baileigh Davis, Baker
Natalie Warner, Enterprise
Bailey Lansdown, Faith Academy
Olivia Blackmon, T.R. Miller
Grace Crim, Providence Christian
Presley Miles, Saint James
CeCe Carl, Spanish Fort
Mary Elizabeth Hill, Trinity Presbyterian
Brenda Ellis, UMS-Wright
Hollis Johnson, Montgomery Catholic
Ron Peters, Smiths Station — Admin