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Prep notebook: Ohatchee’s record-breaking 4x2 team had to reach way back for baton

Ohatchee 4x200 relay team

Members of Ohatchee’s record-setting 4x200-meter relay team, from left, first leg Noah Fuller, second leg Eli Ennis, third leg Brock England and anchor Ryker Lambright, the lone returner from last year’s 4x2 team.

OHATCHEE — Bill Clinton was running for his second term as president in 1996. Prince Charles and Princess Diana divorced. DVDs hit the market, and internet users passed 10 million worldwide.

It was 1996, when St. Paul’s 4x200-meter relay team broke the Alabama indoor track record. It stood, until Ohatchee’s 4x2 team broke it Friday in the state indoor meet.

The group of Ryker Lambright, Eli Ennis, Noah Fuller and Brock England covered it in one minute, 34.43 seconds, beating a 24-year-old record by .53 of a second.

Members of Ohatchee’s 4x2 team say they’ve never heard of Clinton, but they can relate to 1996.

“My sister wasn’t even born, and she’s like 20-something now,” Lambright said.

That’s how remarkable it is to break a 24-year-old record in a sport where records fall all of the time.

More remarkable, all but Lambright are new members to the team. Grayson Alward, Blake Noah and Cam McCombs graduated from the state-champion 4x2 team of 2019.

Last year’s team ran it in 1:36. This year’s team bested that time in the first try and ran a 1:34.08 at sectional, but only their time at state counts toward the record.

The current team’s road to a record started with disappointment. They had the state’s best time two years ago but suffered a baton drop and disqualification.

Fuller took his sophomore year off from track but returned this year, at Lambright’s urging. Fuller talked Ennis and England onto the team.

“I knew this group was going to be special because we had the chemistry,” Fuller said. “We’re all together. It wasn’t just about one of us, and we just worked, communicated and helped each other out and stepped on the track and did what we did.”

Now, Ohatchee’s fast foursome gets to ponder whether their record will stand into their 40s.

“I was like, we’ve got to make it a good time, so we can tell our grandkids about it,” Lambright said.

Noteworthy

—The area will have lots to watch in the state wrestling championships this week in Huntsville. Alexandria, ranked third in the 1A-5A division and winner of last weekend’s South Super Sectional, will send 11 wrestlers, including returning champion Jaden New.

Same for Oxford, ranked second in 6A and second-place finisher at the North Super Sectional. The Yellow Jackets’ contingent includes returning state champions Jakob Chisolm and Reed Hill.

Ranburne, ranked fifth in 1A-5A, took second to Alexandria at sectionals and will send seven to state.

Brother-sister tandem Lena and J.D. Johannson highlight Weaver’s six-member team, along with previous state participants Cody Souder and Travis Bellar.

Lincoln qualified eight, Cleburne County five, Piedmont and Saks four apiece, Pleasant Valley three, Ohatchee two and White Plains one.

—Congratulations to Donoho football player Andrew Harris and cross country/track runner Kam Thomas, who participated in Donoho’s signing ceremony Monday. Harris is headed to Faulkner University, and Thomas will run for Huntingdon.

—Many times, Eddie Bullock has directed Anniston’s girls basketball team to Birmingham. Many times, he and the Bulldogs have come home disappointed, but his current team just might be his best. The Bulldogs have a proven scorer in point guard Allasha Dudley. Shooting guard Airriana Colley showed in the Calhoun County championship game that she can get hot on a big stage.

Then there’s the matter of dynamic bigs Kiana Montgomery and Asia Barclay. They can run the floor, which leads to lots of putbacks and fast-break buckets. They can defend. They can finish around the basket and hit free throws, so there’s a penalty for fouling them.

“They’re the key,” Bullock said after Anniston’s sub-regional victory over Cherokee County on Monday. “They’re two different monsters with different kinds of games, but the thing that they have in common is they both can run the floor.”

—Oneonta’s boys come to the Northeast Regional with a local connection as its head coach. Brandon Crews was Chris Randall’s top assistant at White Plains for five years, before becoming Oneonta’s head coach in 2017. Crews played for Randall at Trinity Christian, and Crews followed Randall to White Plains in 2001.

The two would’ve matched wits in The Pete on Monday, had White Plains won its sub-regional game Tuesday. Instead, mentor can help mentee try to find solutions for defending 4A champion Talladega.

—Coaches in our coverage area, all sports: we want your scores and results, with top performers, as soon as possible after completion of events. It’s best not to wait until after the bus ride home, as that could push past our daily deadlines. The best way to report is through email, and please include ALL of the following, so that reports reach all possible handlers: karmadaily@aol.com, medwards@annistonstar.com, hayden.medley@gmail.com, jmedley@annistonstar.com, jgravette@annistonstar.com and jaredgravette@gmail.com.

Our coverage area includes all 15 high schools in Calhoun County, Spring Garden, Cleburne County, Ranburne, Woodland, Randolph County, Handley, Wadley, Central-Clay, Lincoln and Munford. Thanks!

—Here’s the list of 2019-20 Calhoun County varsity championship events, with champions in parenthesis for completed events:

• Volleyball (Alexandria)

• Cross country (White Plains boys and girls)

• Wrestling (Oxford)

• Basketball (Oxford boys, Anniston girls)

• Tennis, Red Wilder Invitational, March 6-7, Oxford Lake.

• Baseball, March 6-10, Choccolocco Park

• Soccer, April 2-4, Choccolocco Park

• Golf, April 3-4, Pine Hill Country Club

• Track and field, April 7, Choccolocco Park

• Softball, April 7-10, Choccolocco Park

Sports Writer Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter: @jmedley_star.

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