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The Last Chance Invitational Cross Country Meet was held at Madison’s Palmer Park with 32 teams and over 800 runners participating. Photo- Drew Bell, James Clemens High

Bob Jones Senior Jean Pierre LeRoux Wins Last Chance Invitational

MADISON- James Clemens took third-place team trophies in both boys and girls divisions of its own Last Chance Invitational, but the real star of the meet was Bob Jones senior Jean Pierre LeRoux who won the boys 5K race with a time of 16 minutes, 13.49 seconds.

LeRoux helped the Patriots to a fifth place team finish in scoring while Father Ryan High out of Nashville won both divisions in the largest cross country meet ever held in Madison. More than 800 runners representing 32 schools participated in the event hosted by the Jets at Palmer Park. An overflow crowd of 1,500 attended the meet held in near perfect weather conditions for cross country running.

“I am very thankful and grateful to live in a community like Madison that feels the need to take pride in hosting such a great event for youth in the North Alabama and South Tennessee areas,” said Drew Bell head coach of James Clemens and invitational coordinator. “Those with the City of Madison at Palmer Park did an astounding job with helping host this event. The entire 3.1-mile course was freshly mowed, trash was picked up and they provided a ‘follow-up’ vehicle behind the last runner in each race for safety purposes.”

In boys, LeRoux led the field of 133 runners. Sparkman’s Omar Myers, a senior, was fourth (16:21.89), junior Matthew Hill of James Clemens was sixth (16:23.17) and eighth grade sensation Dylan Dryer of James Clemens was sixteenth (16:57.69).

Dryer’s time was the fastest in Alabama this season and ninth best in the country by an eighth grade student-athlete. He is undefeated in junior high races, but has successfully participated in races against the older varsity runners.

The team scores included 1. Father Ryan 44, 3. James Clemens 97, 5. Bob Jones 167, 6. Sparkman 199, and 8. Madison Academy 260.

In Girls, the Lady Jets were without their top runner as senior Kristin Day was away on a college visit to Wake Forest. Jets’ junior Emmy Mattingly was the top local performer with a ninth place finish at 20:27.80. She edged teammate Clair Deaton, a freshman, who had a time of 20:27.84. Sophomore Sydney Freeman, also of James Clemens, was sixteenth at 20:52.88.

Team scores for the girls division were 1. Father Ryan 33, 3. James Clemens 91, 7. Sparkman 204, and 14. Bob Jones 376.

“This event has come a long way in eight years since I designed the course of grass/dirt trail among rolling hills and the first meet we had featured just three teams and just over 60 runners,” said Bell.

“We (James Clemens) will host the upcoming Section Championships on Oct. 31 here at Palmer Park,” added Bell.

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