Top-ranked Lawrence County goes against Southeast’s best at Jesse Owens Classic

Lawrence County’s Steele Joiner runs at Jesse Owens.

Prior to the race, Lawrence County head coach Stanley Johnson wanted to see how his team stacked up.

He found out Saturday morning.

The 5A No. 1 Red Devils took on the best of the best, and Johnson feels they will be better prepared for a run at a state championship.

“I thought the girls accepted the challenge, and I think the boys did, too,” said Johnson. “We had some new PRs (personal records) set. So, I’m very happy and pleased with our performance.”

The Jesse Owens Classic is an annual race that takes place at the Oakville Indian Mounds. It is the largest race in the state of Alabama and features the best teams, not only in Alabama, but from surrounding states in the Southeast.

“It’s really cool when you see all these other teams from other states and they’re taking pictures and videos,” Johnson said. “We take it for granted some being from Lawrence County, but it really makes you realize how prestigious this race is.”

The Red Devils competed in the Gold Championship division of the large school 5A-7A race. The girls finished top 10, coming in at ninth. Katie Mae Coan was the top runner for the squad, coming in at 22 with a time of 19:10.09.

Steele Joiner was the top runner overall for Lawrence County, finishing 19 in the boys Gold division.

With the race now done, Lawrence County sets their sights on their first state championship since 2015.

“The quality of the teams here was superb,” Johnson said. “The No. 1 runner in the state was here and he almost broke the course record. This is going to really prepare us for a run at a state championship.”

The state meet will take place on Nov. 14 on the same course.

Friday results

This year the classic was split over two days, small schools and large schools, to help alleviate crowd issues because of COVID-19.

Schools from class 1A-4A were in action on Friday.

In the girls 1A-2A race, Hatton finished second, while Athens Bible finished fourth and Lindsay Lane fifth. Hatton’s Neidyn Lopez and Brayden Flanagan finished fifth and sixth.

In the boys 1A-2A race, Hatton finished third and Lindsay Lane fifth. Hatton’s Jairo Lopez placed sixth, while Lindsay Lane’s Henry Woodall finished 11th.

In the girls 3A-4A race, West Limestone finished eighth.

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