During his time as a runner at Wetumpka, Cory Anthony has seen plenty of podium finishes and multiple appearances at the state championships. Even though he could not add to his gold medal tally, Anthony set new personal records at the AHSAA Class 6A State Championships and grabbed two more top-four finishes to cap his high school career before signing with South Alabama on Monday.
“The experience was definitely different this year because I’m a senior,”
Anthony said. “It was my last chance to cap off my high school career with some good times and that’s what I ended up doing.”
Anthony is the Elmore County Player of the Week.
Anthony started the weekend in the 1,600, an event he won during the Section 2 event in Tuscaloosa last weekend. The competition on the track was different this time around though and Anthony was focusing on making his own time better rather than worrying about adding another medal to his collection.
“Our first lap was really good,” Anthony said. “When we came around the 800 mark, I hit 2:09 so I knew that was it. I told myself I was going to do it today.”
Entering the weekend, Anthony said he wanted personal records and at least one podium and he got that out of the way early. He finished the 1,600 with a time of 4:23.85, beating his time at the sectional by more than 10 seconds.
Anthony fell to Will Stone and Crawford Hope, both of Homewood, two runners who have been the best in the 1,600 event all season. Anthony has spent most of his career on the track and as a cross country runner competing next to Stone and Anthony said it helped push him to be better.
“I tried to keep up as long as I could and it worked out in the end,” Anthony said. “I was sticking on him for the whole race and I think that pushed me to get a better time.”
Wetumpka took a school record 22 athletes to the state meet in Gulf Shores. Anthony said he was proud to be a part of that before graduating and it helped make the weekend more enjoyable.
“It made the whole experience way better,” Anthony said. “You get to enjoy your teammates and watch their success so that feels really good. It was really motivating.”
As expected, Anthony was given the opportunity to continue his running career at the next level but he waited until after the track season to hold his signing ceremony. He got to celebrate that moment Monday morning at the high school surrounded by his family, friends and coaches.
“It feels really good to get that opportunity,” Anthony said. “I’ve always wanted to compete in college and now that I can, it’s really a relief. It’s definitely a highlight of my senior year.”
Anthony signed alongside fellow senior Aaron Foster, who will continue his track career at Spring Hill College.
“We were always pushing each other to do better,” Anthony said. “Over the past two weeks, seeing Aaron excel in the sport was really cool to witness. It felt really good to have a teammate share that experience with me.”
Anthony’s big week continued Tuesday night when he represented Wetumpka at the Joe Sewell Award ceremony. With graduation later this month, Anthony is looking forward to his time at South Alabama and is already setting goals for himself on the track.
“I really just want to go down there and get better,” Anthony said. “That’s all I can ask for. They have a really good program and I’m ready to get started.”