Record Breakers

Published 7:58 am Wednesday, April 27, 2005

By By Tim Cottrell
The big day that the Escambia Academy JV Track &Field team put in Saturday in Mobile is well-known by now, but what may not be as well known is the huge days put in by several of the young Cougar runners.
While the boys were winning the AISA 1A/2A state championship as a team and the girls were finishing third, eight state records were broken or tied by four Cougar runners. Andrea Nall and Wesley Channell also finished as girls and boys MVP, respectively.
Nall, an eighth-grader, won four individual championships to go along with her MVP trophy. She won the mile run, the two-mile run, the 300-meter hurdles, and the long jump. The long jump competition was the only event in which Nall did not break the state record. That "failure" wasn't so terrible, however, due to the fact that she had already set that record last year.
Nall said that of all her many accomplishments on the day, her high point was the win in the 300-meter hurdles.
"(The highlight of my day was) getting 54 seconds in the 300-meter hurdles," Nall said. "I've never gotten faster than 57 seconds. There was another girl in the race that really pushed me. I wasn't sure if I would beat her. It wasn't really unexpected, but I didn't think I'd get that time. I think the other girl really pushed me to go faster."
Channell, a ninth-grader at EA, won two individual state championships and set one new state record to go along with his MVP trophy. Channell finished first in the triple jump and 110-meter hurdles. He set a new state record in the hurdles. Despite his big wins, the second-year competitor was most pleased with an event he didn't win.
"I was happy to get second in the discus," Channell said. "It was by far the best I've done."
Alan Ash, an eighth grader, lived up to his pedigree, winning the mile and two-mile runs and setting state records in each. Ash's parents, Alan and Dale are well-known for long distance running, and his older brother, Matt, also competes on the varsity EA track squad.
"My dad really helps me," Ash said. "He always tells me how to run and what pace I should keep. I run with my brother every morning, and I've been running since I was able to run. The best part of the day was getting 5:17 in the mile and setting the record. I've had faster times in the two-mile than I had Saturday."
Track coach Bert Rice commented Monday on Ash's inspiring two-mile run.
"When Alan came around the curve to finish the two miles, there was a huge ovation," Rice said. "Everyone could see how hard he was working."
Claire Jones, a ninth-grader, rounded out the record-setters for EA. She won an individual state championship in the 100-meter hurdles, where she set the state record. She also is now the co-holder of the state record in the high jump, but did not win the event. Despite the bittersweet taste of that moment, Jones was happy with her performance.
"Getting 4'7" in the high jump is the best I've ever done," Jones said. "I normally do best at the long-jump. It was an exciting day."
Jones, Nall, and Ash all had advice for those looking to better themselves.
"Dedicate yourself and work to your full potential," Jones said.
Ash also stressed dedication.
"You need to be dedicated to what you do," Ash said.
"You have to work hard to get good results," Nall said.
Channell, on the other hand, was thinking of more rings.
"I'm only 15," Channell said. "I'm going to be here a lot longer, and I plan on winning some more championships."

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