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Brian Tannehill / For Tallapoosa Publishers Wetumpka's Khloe Harris (10) drills the ball down the line against Stanhope Elmore.

Wetumpka did not drop a set on its way to winning the championship of Saturday’s Stanhope Elmore Volleyball Tournament. No team got closer than five points in a set against Wetumpka as it won all four of its matches, easing to the title.

After breezing through pool play with wins over Marbury and Elmore County, Wetumpka (10-5) found itself in a rematch with the Bulldogs to begin the knockout stage. The offense got a big performances at the net as Yennifer Gomez (eight kills), Khloe Harris (six kills) and Morgan Causey (five kills and six blocks) dominated the action up front, leading Wetumpka to a 25-15, 25-16 victory.

Wetumpka kept the momentum going in the championship match which was another rematch for the day, this time with Elmore County. The Panthers put up the fight Wetumpka expected in the first set but Wetumpka held off any hope of an upset, finishing off a dominant day with a 25-19, 25-13 win.

The attack was once again evenly distributed across Wetumpka’s top three hitters with Harris making the most of her opportunities and recording a team-high seven kills. Erin Douglass led the defense, racking up 19 digs, while Causey and Shay Jackson helped out at the net, each recording four blocks.

Stanhope Elmore (4-4) won of its three matches. The Mustangs started the day by knocking off Tallassee in two sets behind a strong performance from Alex Green who recorded six kills and 10 assists.

Green kept that momentum going into the second pool play match against Benjamin Russell, finishing with 10 kills but it was not enough as the Wildcats came out on top in three sets. Kelbi Johnson added eight kills while Rylie Grimes recorded seven.

The Mustangs were eliminated by Elmore County in a two-set sweep despite another big match from Green who put up seven kills and eight assists.

Stanhope Elmore responded Monday night by claiming a sweep of its own at Holtville. Johnson led the way with seven kills while Green added four and six assists in the victory.

Cross Country

Wetumpka, Holtville rack up top 10 finishes at Calera

Teams from across central Alabama converged on Eagle Cross Country Course in Calera on Saturday to compete in the annual George Roy Invitational. Wetumpka and Holtville saw their athletes put up strong performances on the way to a big day for county runners.

Wetumpka’s boys team had five runners finish in the top 11 in a field of 65 athletes including two in the top four. 

Jack Walden led the way for Wetumpka, grabbing third place with a time of 17:52.59, just 25 seconds shy of the top spot. Gavan Baxley was right behind his teammate in fourth after finishing in 18:25.06.

Cameron Mann and Collin Harden also grabbed spots in the top 10, finishing within 20 seconds of Baxley. Matthew McGehee wrapped up the team’s points earnings after he finished just under 19 minutes as well to claim 11th overall.

The team performance was good enough to claim second place in the meet, finishing just behind Briarwood.

Holtville’s boys team also competed in the event, finishing seventh in the team standings. Sam Spangler led the way with a 25th-place finish after running the race with a time of 20:24.99.

Both teams were also represented well in the girls race which included a top-five finish for each school.

Holtville did not have enough runners to compete in the team standings but Bella Rhodes led the way for the Bulldogs and claimed third with a time of 23:21.12.

Parker Page finished just behind her to claim fourth, leading the way for another strong team performance for Wetumpka. Kayley Key also had a top-10 finish, securing sixth and finishing the race in 24:18.29.

Wetumpka’s Haley Bethea and Elsa Stubbs also secured finishing times in the top 20, helping the team claim a second-place overall finish of the six competing teams.

Stanhope Elmore was also represented at the meet as Joanie Patton finished ninth in the girls race with a time of 24:55.81.

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.