FORT PAYNE — Fort Payne’s 4x800-meter relay team placed second, the 4x400-meter relay team was third and Madi Wallace earned a bronze medal in the 60-meter hurdles, highlighting the Wildcats’ fifth-place overall finish in Class 6A at the AHSAA State Indoor Track and Field Championships in Birmingham this weekend.
“I was very pleased with our overall team results,” Wildcats coach Selena Penton said. “There were a few bumps in the road, but we came back strong to get on the podium in the hurdles, 4x800 and 4x400. The performances from this weekend make me very excited to see what more we can accomplish as we are approaching the outdoor season.”
The 4x800 relay team was composed of Maddie Jackson, Anahi Barboza, Reese McCurdy and Aylin Vega.
Jackson ran a 2:26 split and Vega and Barboza both came out strong with a 2:33 split, a season best for the both of them. It was McCurdy’s first appearance in a state track meet and her first time to run with a relay team; she ran a 2:35 split.
Fort Payne athletes had personal records set during the weekend’s finale. Jackson’s 2:23 run in the 800-meter event, Wallace’s 400-meter dash time of 1.00.18 for a fifth-place individual finish and Lennon Ibsen’s 33-feet, 6-inch leap for sixth place in the triple jump were all personal records, as was Ariana Johnson’s 32-foot leap in the triple jump for a ninth-place finish.
The 4x400 relay team was Wallace, Jackson, Madisyn Hill and Maggie Groat.
“This team was determined to make an appearance on the podium going into the meet with a third-place seed time,” Penton said. “This race was a fight to the finish, and thankfully we were able to come out with bronze.”
Wallace, who won the 6A state championship in the 60-meter hurdles last season, competed in four events Saturday. She finished her indoor track career with a strong hurdle race for a bronze medal, a fourth-place finish in the long jump, a fifth-place finish and personal record in the 400-meter dash and an outstanding leg in the 4x400 race.
“I could not have asked for anything more from Madi,” Penton said. “It is never easy competing in four events, especially with those four all being on the same day.”
Fort Payne carried 11 girls to the state meet. Of the 11, only five competed in individual events. The other six ran on relay teams only.
“I was very happy that we finished in the top five as a team with such a small amount of qualifiers,” Penton said. “The girls set goals for themselves for this meet and worked really hard to attain them, which paid off for us in the end. This just shows that success comes from each individual person doing their job to contribute to the team effort.”