Laura Story stopped running distance events when her younger sister caught up to her. They laugh about it now.
The Prattville Christian senior, who finished second Saturday in the girls 300 hurdles at the Class 2A, Section 1 track and field meet at Montgomery Academy, watched as her sister, sophomore Ansley Story, finished third in the girls 2A two-mile race with a time of 13:07.03.
Both girls qualified for state in their school’s first year in the AHSAA.
For Ansley Story, her performance in the two-mile race was a personal best time, by a full 30 seconds.
“There is a lot of competition,” she said of the AHSAA. Her school moved from the AISA this school year. “They push me, definitely.”
MA hosted both the Class 2A and 4A, Section 1 meets Friday and Saturday with 11 teams in 2A and 10 in 4A. Each school was allowed to enter three entries per event. The 4A athletes who qualified for state will compete at City Municipal Track in Gulf Shores next week, and the 2A schools at Memorial Stadium in Selma.
In Selma, MA will be represented by distance runners Taylor Gerard, a junior, and Jack Barganier, a freshman. A day after winning the 2A boys 1,600, Barganier won the 3,200 Saturday with a time of 10:25.26. Gerard, who also won the 1,600 Friday, won the 800 (2:29.00) and 3,200 (12:06.66) races Saturday. She won all three events at the state meet last year. MA’s Kaylee Quinn placed second in the 3,200 in 12:21.61 behind Gerard on Saturday.
In 4A, Brewbaker Tech had a strong showing in the 200, with Kaityln Beans, De’Aria Riley and Tia Martin coming in first, second, third, respectively. The three were part of Friday’s 400 relay, along with Talesa McCall, that took first place. Beans won Saturday’s 200 in 26.49; Riley finished in 27.03; and Martin in 27.74.
Alabama Christian senior Dylon Hibbard who won the 4A pole vault Saturday in 13 feet, 6 inches. He competed Saturday with 16 stitches in his forehead — a crossbar from a pole vault competition last weekend fell on him, cutting his head.
Still, he went inch-for-inch with UMS-Wright’s Josh Russell.
Both cleared 12-6 and secured the top two seeds at state next weekend — the third spot went to ACA freshman Jonathon Urquhart, who cleared 12 feet.
But Hibbard and Russell continued jumping, both clearing 13-3, before Hibbard — the defending 4A pole vault champion — won by clearing 13-6 on his second attempt. Russell missed his three attempts.
As a team, ACA placed second in 4A boys behind UMS-Wright and ahead of Dallas County. In 4A girls, UMS-Wright won, followed by Brew Tech and ACA. In 2A boys, Mobile Christian placed first, followed by MA and Washington County. MA won 2A girls ahead of Mobile Christian and R.C. Hatch.
PCA finished fifth in both boys and girls. They had 10 boys and five girls represented.
“We’re doing a great job,” coach Shawn Parker said. The new division “stretches them. We have to work them harder, but they’ve responded.”
Laura Story responded with a second-place finish in the 300 hurdles, finishing with a time of 52.66.
“I just like to jump, and I feel that usually tears people down when they jump,” she said. “It just helps me with my adrenaline.”
Laura Story ran distance in 10th grade and moved to sprints because of a knee injury.
“(Ansley) started passing me,” she said. “My knee got me … . Last year, she started doing cross country and I didn’t. She started passing me and got ahead of me.”
The Story sisters, Parker said, have made an impression on the girls team.
“Since they’ve come on board, all my other girls, you can tell their morale has come up, and they are even doing better in their events,” he said. “They lead by example.”
Also on Saturday at the Class 3A, Section 2 meet at Beauregard, the Trinity boys took first place as a team, and the Catholic boys and girls both were second. Trinity junior Wesley Curles won the 800, 1,600 and 3,200. Davis Mann was first in the 400.