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Dean misses title by eyelash

By Michael Butler

It was a photo finish. The difference - 33/100ths of a second. Tallassee High School cross country runner Woodrow Dean was that close to being a repeat state champion.

Dean was nipped at the finish line by UMS-Wright's Joseph Perry in the 66th AHSAA Cross Country Championships at Oakville Indian Mounds and Park on Saturday.

Dean was last year's winner. Perry was the Class 4A champ in 2019.

It was literally a two-man race in the 5A event. The third-place finisher, was 35.7 seconds off the pace. Perry's younger brother, sophomore Charles Perry, placed third.

Dean's time was a season-best at 15:20.84. Perry's top time was 15:20.51 in the 5K event.

The roles were reversed from last year when Perry was runner-up to Dean. Dean was clocked with a time of 15:33.83 last year. Perry ran a 16:20.43 in the 2020 race.

It is the second time Dean crossed the line with a second-place finish in the state finals. He was a runner-up in 2019 as well.

Dean had five wins in all five events of the season before Saturday. The senior will run for Liberty University next year.

St. John Paull II Cathlic of Huntsville was the Class 5A winner. UMS was second. Tallassee finished ninth.

Tallassee Participants
Woodrow Dean - 15:20.84
Caleb Mason - 18:40.81
Brady Mason - 19:14.67
Grant McCraney - 19:23.10
Alex Harrison - 20:28.25
Jacob Patterson - 21:25.22
Nathan Mason - 21:28.74
Eli McCraney - 22:10.29
Baxlee Burton - 22:13.52