The Bob Jones High School Cross Country team proved once again Friday night that their hard work over the summer is paying off. The team returned to Madison County for week five of their 2021 season, competing in day one of the Southern Showcase at John Hunt Park. Not intimidated by the rare nighttime race, the team dominated the competition, resulting in multiple top finishes, team awards and personal bests. Competing against 37 other teams -- some from outside the state -- the boys team took the top award for the boys open 5K, consisting of runners of all grades. The girls team also came out on top in the girls open 5K. Bob Jones freshman boys team scored second place in their race. After the race, Coach Bill McIlwain, now in his second season as head coach, said that the team was on firm footing after previous seasons were affected by turnover in the coaching staff. He added assistant girls team coaches Emily Smith and Lorin Carter this season and said that he hopes to add an assistant boys coach. Senior Adam John Baer took home first, coming out on top in the boys open 5K with a personal best. Sam Pope, third; Owen Crow, fourth; Nick Lozano, seventh; and Matthew Pimmel, eighth; rounded out the top fifteen spots. Seventh grader Ami Marks took second place in the girls open 5K, made even more notable by the fact that it is her first season with Bob Jones XC. Lucy Halter, fifth; Piper Larkin, sixth; Molly Halter, seventh; Rachel Pennell, ninth; Ilene Pour-Biazar, 10th; Marjorie Baumbach, 11th; Charlotte Droege 12th; also landed in the top fifteen. “Normally I like running in the morning on Saturdays because there is less distracting me throughout the day,” Lucy Halter said. “But the weather was so nice that I didn’t mind it too much.” Caleb Johnson, third; and Eric Joy, eighth; scored in the top fifteen of the boys ninth grade race. Eighth grader Jake Bryan scored a personal record in the two-mile boys middle school race, placing sixth in the top fifteen. “It feels awesome,” Bryan said. “I am proud that I stepped up at one of the most important courses and I am glad that my hard work is paying off.” ...


BJHS Cross Country had major victories across all divisions at Pisgah with the Varsity and JV boys taking 1st place trophies and the Varsity and JV girls both bringing home 2nd place honors. Pisgah is arguably one of the toughest courses in the state with challenging hills and water crossings, but the entire BJHS team met the challenge winning trophies and setting numerous personal records. It was the Varsity Boys first win of the season with Sr. Ryan Bender finishing 2nd, and Sr. James Garrison returning from an injury to place 3rd. Sam Pope had a strong 6th place run with Owen Crow 7th, Collin Spindle 9th, Wade Bucy 10th, Nick Lozano 14th, and Mathew Pimmel 18th rounding out the top 20. The Varsity Girls team also brought home their first trophy of the season placing 2nd in a very competitive race that took everyone’s best effort. Several athletes stepped up in the absence of a number of dual sport athletes to get the job done and earn a hard-fought 2nd place finish. Lucy Halter led the effort finishing 8th with sister Molly Halter close behind in 11th. Elise Baumgartner earned a top 15 shirt with her effort coming in at 13th. Elain Bao 16th, Makenzie Edwards 17th and Jackie Sullivan 20th rounded out the top 20 in this best of the season team effort. The JV boys added a first-place trophy to their collection with this week’s win. Caleb Johnson 1st, Luke Allen 3rd, and Jake Bryan 5th led the effort in this big first place finish. Eric Joy 6th and Owen Lang 8th rounded out the top ten. Oscar Nichols 11th, and Conrado Jocson 12th had impressive runs as well with Jacob Sigler 18th and Caleb Cooke 19th running strong to round out the top 20. The JV girls added to their string of impressive wins as well this week finishing 2nd. Ami Marks won the overall race with Charlotte Droege 8th, Rachel Pennell 9th, Ilene Pour-Biazar 11th, and Sara Pennell 16th rounding out the scoring effort. Aubrey Spindle and Bonnie Halter secured the victory finishing in the displacing positions this week. Despite this being a notably difficult and slower course several BJHS athletes managed to run personal best-ever times this week. Here’s the list: Nick Lozano, Lucas Guerra, Luke Allen, Jake Bryan, Owen Lang, Jacob Sigler, Connor Nicholson, Owen Johnston, Ami Marks, Charlotte Droege, and Ilene Pour-Biazar. Congratulations to these athletes! Next week BJXC travels to the State Championship course to compete in the Chickasaw Trails Invitational. This is another difficult course which will draw over 120 teams from four states competing on this nationally famous course near the home of Olympic champion runner Jesse Owens. *** Alumni News*** 2020 BJHS Graduate and current Auburn University Freshman Hannah Thuss finished 8th overall to lead her Auburn team to a 2nd place finish at the JSU Foothills Invitational last Friday! Great job Hannah!!! ...


The Bob Jones Cross Country team hosted the first annual Friendly First Chance 2.1 mile race this past Saturday. Teams from around North Alabama gathered at the BJHS campus to race this grass, gravel, pavement, concrete, turf, and rubberized track course. This season-opening race gave athletes the opportunity to experience all types of surfaces they will race on this season. Over sixty parents as well as Bob Jones Track Coaches Jefferson, and Weaver joined Coach McIlwain and his staff before sunrise to ensure this first-ever race was a success. They succeeded! We received numerous positive comments from visiting coaches, parents and athletes. The event was truly “Friendly” and fun for all involved. This race gave teams a chance to take care of those new runner jitters and tune up their veteran runners in a friendly competition on the BJHS Campus on the opening weekend of the Cross Country season. There were 18 team trophies presented, medals for all elite runners, and Top 20 t-shirts for all runners finishing 20th or better in their division. THANK YOU Fleet Feet Madison for providing Top 20 T-shirts free of charge! All Bob Jones teams had great runs, adding two trophies to the XC collection and numerous athletes bringing home individual medals and Top 20 t-shirts. We had several athletes running in their first race ever who collected medals and shirts, and perhaps more importantly all of our athletes have that first race behind them and will only be getting faster as the season goes on. The Varsity boys team finished fourth, with Sr. Ryan Bender winning the overall race by over a hundred meters with an incredible time of just 9:51.47. Jr. Isaac Allen finished 7th, Sr. Adam Baer 18th, with Wade Bucy, and Sam Pope rounding out the scoring. The Varsity Girls finished 6th overall and 4th in the large school category amongst some of the strongest teams in the state. Molly Halter, Charlotte Droege, Lucy Halter, Maddie McInvale, and Elaine Bao had point scoring runs for the team. The JV Boys’ team had a great day bringing home the 2nd Place trophy! Caleb Johnson won the overall race in a sprint to the finish line with Huntsville’s fastest JV runner. Luke Allen finished 8th, Jake Bryan 10th, Eric Joy 12th, with Jacob Uchitel rounding out the scoring. Oscar Nichols, and Conrado Jocson were close behind in the displacing positions. (In XC the top team’s top five finishers score points, and while the 6 and 7th place runners do not score team points, their places push opponents further down in the scoring.) The JV Girls’ team had a great race day as well bringing home the 3rd place trophy with only six runners present! Ami Marks led the team with a strong 3rd place finish, Abigail Bennett finished 19th, with Ilene Pour-Biazar, Bonnie Halter, and Aubrey Spindle rounding out the scoring. Alexa Skelley assured the 3rd place trophy by finishing in the displacing position. Next week the team heads to Scottsboro, AL to race in the Black and Gold Classic where JV will run the 2.1 mile course and Varsity will run a 5k course. ...


2021-2022 BJHS Baseball Tryouts Wednesday, 8/18: 11th/12th – 4:00-6:30; 9th/10th – 6:00-8:00 Thursday, 8/19: 11th/12th – 4:00-6:30; 9th/10th – 6:00-8:00 Monday, 8/23: 11th/12th – 4:00-6:30; 9th/10th – 6:00-8:00 Tuesday, 8/24: 11th/12th – 4:00-6:30; 9th/10th – 6:00-8:00 Wednesday, 8/25: 11th/12th – 4:00-6:30; 9th/10th – 6:00-8:00 *All players must have a current physical to tryout. *Anyone interested in trying out who didn’t play in the summer needs to sign-up with Coach Smith in room C107 or by email at *All players are required to attend all tryout dates unless previously excused. (With the exception of football players) *Varsity football players will not attend tryouts during this time. We will tryout these guys at a later date. *JV/Freshmen football players will attend tryouts as long as it does not interfere with football practice. *Anyone with questions can contact Coach Jared Smith at


Bob Jones Cross Country is proud to welcome two great additions to Coach McIlwain’s cross country coaching staff for the 2021 season. Coach Emily Smith is a lifelong runner who teaches at Discovery Middle School and is looking forward to her first season on the BJXC coaching staff. Coach Lorin Carter, who will be attending UAH this fall, was an outstanding member of the BJHS girls Cross Country team earning a spot in the state championship race last year. Coach McIlwain added, “We welcome Coach Smith and Coach Carter to our growing program as we look to move forward and improve in the state rankings. We’re adding a large number of younger athletes to the program, so it will be great to have an assistant at DMS. It’s also very beneficial to add an assistant who is coming off a run in last year’s state championship. We’re all looking ahead to what promises to be a great season.” If you or your friends missed tryouts but are interested in joining Cross Country for the 2021 season, please see Coach McIlwain at BJHS or Coach Smith at Discovery for more information. ...


The Bob Jones Cross Country team held tryouts Thursday May 13th and as a result are welcoming a large number of talented runners to an impressive group of over 40 athletes returning from last year’s team. The tryout session went well with over 37 prospective new members racing for a spot on the 2021 roster. Head Coach Bill McIlwain commented, “It was great to see all these students come out and express their interest in joining the team. There were a lot of impressive athletes in the group who could work hard and make an immediate contribution to the varsity team’s success next season. I’m also very pleased at the large number of younger JV athletes joining our ranks as we build the program to stay competitive in the coming years.” BJXC is coming off a successful 2020 season that filled the trophy case and netted too many individual awards and personal records to count. The team is also returning the majority of runners who competed in last years’ 7A state championship. With the addition of all these determined new runners to the seasoned stable of returning athletes, 2021 looks to be an exciting time for Bob Jones Cross Country! ***If you or your friends missed tryouts, but want to be a part of the BJHS cross country team next season, please contact Coach McIlwain ( at BJHS or Coach Smith ( at DMS. ...