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James Clemens track athletes celebrate after the recent Pentathlon Championships. Cadence Huntsinger, left, won the girls state tile, while Isaac Pollard, second from left, was fifth in the boys division. Teammates Ben Thomason and Nicholas Rushton celebrate the event. Photo- Drew Bell, James Clemens High

Cadence Huntsinger Of James Clemens Wins Pentathlon State Championship

BIRMINGHAM- James Clemens High senior Cadence Huntsinger has added another state title to her highly regarded track resume by winning the AHSAA Girls Indoor Pentathlon Championships at the CrossPlex in Birmingham. Her gold medal performance is her second state championship as she is the current defending state champion in the indoor triple jump.

In the pentathlon event, the 5-foot-3, 130-pound Huntsinger placed first in the 60-meter hurdles (9.38-seconds), shot put (34-feet, 8.75-inches) and long jump (17-04.75) while finishing seventh in the high jump (4-05) and eighth in the 800-meter (2:47.28). Her marks in the shot put, long jump and 800 were all personal bests. Her total score 2,989 points, which 79 points ahead of the runner-up.

“I worked hard leading up to the Pentathlon and am very happy with the way I performed, though I know I still have room for improvement,” said Huntsinger, who signed a track scholarship with Kennesaw State of Georgia. “I began track when I was nine years old after playing baseball, softball and soccer, but I chose to stick with track.”

Drew Bell, longtime head coach of the James Clemens track program, said of Huntsinger, “Going into the last event, the 800-meter, we figured out she had to finish within 16-seconds of the winner to take home the state title. She reached that goal by completing the race just 11 seconds behind. It was a wonderful finish for Cadence as she is a wonderful athlete and her mother, Hillary, is our assistant coach on the squad.”

“I was aggressive at the start of the 800 and when they rang the bell for the final lap, I gave it everything I had to stay within the time I was trying to achieve,” said Huntsinger, daughter to Hillary and Trenton Huntsinger.

The Indoor Track State Championships are up next and Huntsinger is ranked No. 1 in Alabama in the triple jump where she will defend her state championship she won a year ago. She’s also ranked No. 2 in the shot put, long jump and 60-meter hurdles. She suffers from a longtime slight stress fractures of her left shin and said she battles through the pain and that sort of gives her the mental drive to be competitive.

Bob Jones junior Mercedes Zich finished eighth in the event putting her among the All-State listing of the top eight scoring 2,267 points. She won the 800-meter with a time of 2:36.01. She was third in the high jump (1.45m), ninth in the 60-meter hurdles (12.26) and seventh in both the shot put (7.54m) and long jump (4.24m).

In the boys version of the pentathlon, James Clemens freshman Isaac Pollard posted 2,836 points finishing well behind the overall winner who had 3,449 points, but was good enough for a fifth place finish. He rang up best personal marks in each of the individual events.

He was second in the long jump (19-09), third in the 1000-meter (2:52.35), sixth in the 60m hurdles (9.43), seventh in the high jump (5-03) and fifteenth in the shot put (27-04.5).

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