Vestavia runners set national indoor track records

Montgomery, AL – Vestavia Hills High School distance runners Crawford West and Ethan Strand both turned in outstanding efforts at the Icebreaker Invitational indoor track and field meet to claim the AHSAA Indoor Track Spotlight for this week.

West, a junior, won the Icebreaker #3 Indoor Track and Field Meet 1,600 meter race with a time of 4:58.40. According to Alabama Runners and the Milesplit national rankings, her time is the fastest of the season nationally.

She also won the Magic City Invitational #3 indoor track and field girls competition in the 3,200 meters with a national best time of 10:52.68.  She is the only high school girls’ runner competing with two national bests this season. 

Strand, a senior, clocked 4:11.00 in the 1,600 meters in the Ice Breaker #5 competition at the Birmingham CrossPlex to rank first nationally this season in that event. Strand’s time is just 1/100th of a second off the AHSAA all-time indoor record of 4:10.00 set by Steve Bolt of Grissom in 1973. 

He edged out a superb effort by Parker High School senior sprinter Jekovan Rhetta, who has also turned in some impressive times ranked among the best in the nation.

Rhetta won the USATF Indoor Hoover Alumni Invitational 60-meter dash with a winning time of 6.78 seconds, which ranks best in the state this year and also ties the best time clocked by AHSAA state meet record holder Trey Cunningham of Winfield, who ran the same time in the 2017 regular season while setting the national record in the 55-meter dash at the CrossPlex. He holds the AHSAA state meet record (6.79) set one week later competing in the Class 4A/5A division. Cunningham, who also set the national high school indoor record in the 60-meter hurdles as a senior in 2017, has evolved to become one of the top collegiate hurdlers and sprinters in the nation at Florida State University. Rhetta also has the fastest 200-meter dash time in the state indoor season clocking 21.70 in the same meet Jan. 2.

Spicer ran the 60-meter dash in 7.49 seconds At the Ice Breaker #4 Invitational last week. That time ranks No. 1 this season in the AHSAA indoor competition. Spicer also turned in the best girls’ 400-meter dash time (55.86) of the 2020-21 season at the Magic City Invitational in December. That time topped her Class 4A/5A state-record performance (56.09) run last year at the AHSAA Indoor State Meet. She had that performance at the Magic City Invitational in December. She also won the 4A/5A 60-meter dash last season with a 7.65 time.

Other top performances recorded by AHSAA runners this season include:

LEA TOWNSEND, HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE: Won the Hump Day Octameet shot put event with a winning throw of 40-0.75 – just shy of her state best throw of 40-4 at the Holiday Invitational in December.

CADY McPHAIL, CHELSEA: Ran the 1,600 meters in 4.59:88 to win the girls’ event at the Birmingham CrossPlex Ice Breaker 2 meet last week. The time set a girls’ meet record and school record.

McKENZIE CULPEPPER, SPAIN PARK: Clocked 2:14.82, matching the Spain Park school record, to win the 800-meter at the Ice Breaker 4 meet. She also finished second in the 400-meter dash with a time of 57.59.

COOPER ATKINS, SCOTTSBORO: Won the 800-meter run at the Hump Day Octameet Wednesday with the AHSAA’s top time of the season, 1:54.75. The CrossPlex prep record in that went is 1:54.11 set by Andrew Harris of Jasper in the 2012 season. Atkins also recorded the top time of the season in the 3,200 meters race (9.16.29) in December at the Magic City Invitational.

SAM CUTHBERTSON, VESTAVIA HILLS: Won the Magic City Invitational #3 high jump with a winning leap of 6 feet, 6 inches, which was one inch shy of his state-leading 6-7 clearance at the Holiday Invitational #4 meet at the CrossPlex in December.

DAVID VICK, SHELBY COUNTY: Cleared a personal best 6 feet, 4 inches to win the boys high jump event at the Ice Breaker 1 competition.

JULIAN COLLINS, HEWITT-TRUSSVILLE: Has the top AHSAA leaps of the season in the long jump (23-6) and triple jump (47-0.25), both coming at the Magic City Invitational in December. He won both events Wednesday at the Hump Day Octameet tying his season best in the long jump (23-6) and going 45-06 in the triple jump.

LEVI ARROYO, HOOVER: The Bucs’ senior pole vaulter cleared 15-09 at the Icebreaker Invitational #5 to move into first place on the season in the state high school competition.

DOMINIQUE HALL, THOMPSON: Cleared 15-06 to win the Hump Day Octameet event at the CrossPlex Wednesday. He also placed second in the long jump with a leap of 21-04.

BLAKE ELLIS, CALERA & CROSS DERRISO, HOMEWOOD: Each cleared 15-0 in the pole vault competition at the Magic City #3 Invitational at the CrossPlex.

GABRIEL MICHAEL, ALBERTVILLE: Cleared 15-0 in the Magic City #2 meet pole vault competition to win the event.

WILLIAM SHELTON, PARKER: The Thundering Herd junior’s time of 50.19 in the 400-meter dash at the Holiday Invitational on Dec. 12 is the AHSAA’s top performance in that event this season.

PATRICK DAVES, BAYSIDE ACADEMY: Ran the 60-meter hurdles in 8.15 seconds to turn in the best time in that event in the AHSAA this season.