The boys indoor track and field team kept the winning tradition going by winning the 6A Indoor Track and Field Championship for the third year in a row. That is the 9th state championship in the program’s history and gives the boys a chance to win their second triple crown (cross country, indoor, and outdoor) in a row if they can win outdoor. Opelika, who were runners-up to Hoover last outdoor season in 6A, were a very well-rounded team, and everyone had to be at their best to beat them. Head Coach Tom Esslinger said, “We knew it was going to take our very best to beat a team like Opelika, and I cannot say enough about the efforts our athletes gave in making that happen. Everyone really relied on their training and performed at a high level. They did exactly what our staff wanted and took one event at a time. We paid attention to the details all season to make something big happen.”
The girls team also had a battle on their hands with Pelham, who were runners-up last indoor season in 6A. Unfortunately, Pelham ended up beating Homewood, who was trying to repeat last year’s outdoor state championship performance. It went down to the 4x400m relay, which is the very last event. Even though Homewood won the event, Pelham finished in 3rd and that was good enough to give them the two point win. Esslinger said, “We really had an outstanding meet, but Pelham just never made a mistake. Both teams outperformed projections and had tremendous performances throughout the two day meet. We are so proud of the fact that our girls fought for every single point and never gave up. We believe this will make us better in the long run, and we feel good about our chances in the outdoor season.”
Andy Smith led the boys team and was the top scorer in the 6A competition, and Alazae Hester-Taylor was also one of the top scorers in the meet. Andy won the 800m and was 2nd in both the 1600m and 3200m. He was also a member of the 4x800m team that won. Alazae barely missed three individual state championships. He finished 2nd in the 60m hurdles by .01, 2nd in triple jump by 1 inch, and 2nd in high jump by two inches. He was also on the 4x400m relay team that was 2nd.
The girls were led by Kiara Williams and Elysa Griffin. Kiara, who has committed to Alabama, added her 7th and 8th career state titles by winning both the triple jump and the 60m hurdles. She also finished 2nd in the long jump and was on the 4x200m relay team that won a thrilling race. Elysa Griffin was also on the 4x200m relay team, won long jump, and earned all-state honors by finishing 3rd in the 60m. Elysa was also on the 4x400m relay team that won.
Coach Esslinger also wanted to commend all members of the team who were at the CrossPlex to support their teammates. “We had a better cheering section than anyone, and it is always great to see all of the HWD shirts pulling for their teammates. The support our kids give each other may be what our staff is most proud of.” Here is a full list of the individual and relay state champions along with the 19 team members who earned all-state honors.Individual and Relay State Champions:
Kiara Williams – Triple Jump, 60m Hurdles
Elysa Griffin – Long Jump
Andy Smith – 800m
Girls 4x200m – Elysa Griffin, Kiara Williams, Christian Hill, Hunter Midgett
Girls 4x400m – Elysa Griffin, Ann Mosely Whitsett, Kristie Looney, and Hunter Midgett
Boys 4x800m – Logan Sadler, Davis Platt, Hunter Poole, and Andy Smith
Kiara Williams – Long Jump
Ann Mosely Whitsett – 800m, 400m
Elysa Griffin – 60m
Christian Hill – Triple Jump
Alazae Hester-Taylor – High Jump, Triple Jump, 60m Hurdles
Andy Smith – 1600m, 3200m
Lawton Dorough – Long Jump
Logan Sadler – 800m
Alex Ngei – 3200m
Teverius Lindsey – High Jump
Girls 4x800m – Virginia Givhan, Edie Smith, Camille Smith, and Mary Virginia Spencer
Boys 4x400m – Tucker Wilson, Alazae Hester-Taylor, Logan Sadler, and Davis Platt
Homewood is coached by Tom Esslinger, Lars Porter, Josh Donaldson, Deanna Swope, Thomas Fowlkes, and Brittany Steele.