Virtual Meets: MHSAA Region 5-6-7
A ton of fast, competitive races, top individual talents, and the best programs in the state of Mississippi going head-to-head highlights the MHSAA Region 5-6-7 Cross Country Championships coming up on Friday, October 29 at Choctaw Trails. There are lots of key races and performances that you won't want to miss, marking the start of the championship season!
Note from the State Editor: I understand that not everyone will be racing regionals, as they serve no purpose in qualifying for the state meet. **When you think about it, why are they even a thing?... Should there one day be a qualification process for the state meet, qualifying through regionals?**
Starting off the list of key races to watch out for on Friday is the boys' Region 3A-8 race. Saint Patrick High School is slated to have a dominating performance, with their top 6 being seeded in the top 10. Saint Stanislaus High School is seeded as a well-established second-place team just behind Saint Patrick. Individually, the key matchup to watch for is Saint Stanislaus' Keegan Leverett, coming in with the fastest seed time of 15:37 and being ranked #1 in the state of Mississippi against Saint Patrick's Jack Hewes, having the second-fastest seed time of 15:57, being ranked #6 in the state as well as being the fastest sophomore in his class in the state. Other names to watch out for in the boys' race include Saint Patrick's Dominic Patino (17:53), Andrew Williams (18:02), and Luke Meyers (18:17). All of these runners have the ability to go sub 18 on Choctaw Trails. Expect a gritty and fast race between Leverett and Hewes!
In the girl's race, a close team matchup between Our Lady Academy and Saint Patrick is slated to go down. Saint Patrick's top 6 is seeded in the top 10 as well as Our Lady's top 4 is seeded in the top 10 as well. Both teams are projected to have a solid race heading into the state meet. Our Lady's Colleen Nolan is projected to win, coming in with the fastest seed time of 20:02. Saint Patrick's Jayden Ware is seeded as a strong second-place finisher with a time of 20:57. Other names to watch out for in the top 5 mix include Our Lady's Elle Powers (21:41) as well as Saint Patrick's Isabella Patino (21:51) and Lillieann Bentz (22:05). These runners will have a close, competitive race for that third place podium spot.
In the boys' race, Brookhaven High School is set to dominate this regional race, projected to win with a perfect score of 15 with Florence High School being projected to come in second place. Brookhaven's top 5 is looking to snag the top 5 individual spots in the race. Their top 5 include Grayson Childress, who has the fastest seed time in this race with a 15:40 as well as being ranked #2 in the state of Mississippi, Sam Arnold with the second-fastest seed time of 15:49, being ranked #3 in the state, Jake Thompson (16:18), Trey Knott (16:36), and Collin Kellum (16:50). It will be a good race for the Brookhaven boys to prepare themselves for the upcoming state meet and pack running against the deep Saltillo squad.
In the girls' race, Brookhaven's girls' team is looking to dominate their regional race too, with their top 6 being seeded in the top 10. Florence's girls squad is projected to come in second place as well. Individual performers to watch out for in this race are Brookhaven's Ellie Slay, who holds the fastest seed time of 21:48, along with her teammates, Annabelle Summers (22:09) and Ella Thompson (22:15) projected to take the second and third place podium spots.
In the boys' race, a tough, competitive duel is set between Oxford High School and Tupelo High School, with both teams looking to take home that first place title for their region. A key matchup in this race includes Oxford's Luke Johnson (15:53), coming in with the fastest seed time and is ranked #4 in the state of Mississippi and Ethan Knight (15:57.84), ranked #7 in the state versus Tupelo's Jaheim Bridges (15:57.43), ranked #5 in the state. Another matchup to look for is Oxford's Matthew Singletary (16:13), ranked #10 in the state of Mississippi against Tupelo's freshman Taylor Brown (16:14), ranked #11 in the state. Lastly, other competitors to watch include Madison Central's Colin Brannon (16:40) and Benjamin Owens (16:55), Starkville's Rhett Schimpf (16:42) and Giles Jones (16:50), Clinton High's Christian Parks (16:41) and Tupelo's Robert Hooper (17:01). There are a handful of runners on the verge of going sub 17 heading into this race as well. Expect a fun, gritty, and fast race, being the highlighted race to watch at regionals!
In the girls' race, a close, competitive team race between Tupelo, Clinton, and Oxford is set to go down. Tupelo's Brookelyn Morgan (19:00) comes in with the fastest seed time by far. Clinton's Evelyn Mata-O'Dwyer is projected to take the third-place podium spot with a seed time of 20:38. For the rest of the top 10 spots, a super close race is set, with all the runners seeded being roughly 4-6 seconds apart from each other. These athletes include Oxford's Sparkle Caldwell (21:06) and Liana Logan (21:34), Tupelo's Abbey Sanders (21:12) and Kaelyn Fair (21:28), Clinton's Sabine Cook (21:24) and Kaedyn Wilson (21:32), and Germantown's Ava Sylve (21:17). This race is not to disappoint!
In the boys' race, Pearl High School's boy's squad is looking to have a successful race, with their top 6 being seeded within the top 10 spots. Oak Grove High School is projected to have a solid race as well, coming in as a strong, second-place team. Individually, the race for the top 10 spots is set to be anybody's race, with there only being a 14-second difference between 1st place's seed time and 10th place's seed time. Brandon's Noah Bowlin comes into this race with the fastest seed time of 16:31. A very neck-to-neck race for the podium spots is set to be thrown down between Oak Grove's Bennett Ferguson (16:41.19), Brandon's Dylan Chapman (16:41.36), and Pearl's Jonathan Phillips (16:41.40) and Farren Oberto (16:45). Other names to not count out of this race include Pearl's Maxi Duran (16:53) and Brendan Clark (16:56) as well as Northwest Rankin's Grayson Edwards (16:48). Expect gutsy races from these runners as well as some fast times too, especially at Choctaw Trails!
In the girls' race, Pearl's girls' team is seeded to win, with a close race for second place being set between Oak Grove and Brandon. Pearl's girls' squad is looking to win in a dominant fashion, projected to have a near-perfect team score, with their top 4 runners taking up the top 5 spots (their top 6 is seeded in the top 10). Leading and setting the tone for the girls' race will be Pearl's Shana Sellers, coming in with the fastest seed time of 20:22 and her teammate, Easley, Reilly, right behind her with a time of 20:24. Just like how the boys' race is slated in this region, another stacked, very close girls race is about to go down in the top 10. Runners to watch out for in this top 10 mix include Pearl's 8th grader Madeline Moore (21:03), Hannah Moore (21:16), Katherine Neal (21:34), and Trinity Smith (21:55), and Brandon's Madalynn Pitts (21:35) and Bailey Gray (21:55). This will be another highly competitive girl's race that you will not want to miss!