MHSAA 'Small School' Boys XC State Meet Preview

Athletes to Watch (MHSAA 1A)

Elijah Park - Tupelo Christian Prep School

Tupelo Christian's Elijah Park has had a very solid season this year. Throughout almost all of the races he has competed in, Park has placed high, earning himself lots of podium finishes. He is seeded in first place, coming in with a personal record of 17:50 that he ran at the Pontotoc XC Invitational, coming in second place in the 1A-3A race. Park also ran a 17:51 at the Watson Meet, clocking in a 17:51 and placing seventh overall in the blue division. With all of this in mind, is coming into this race hungry for the win, looking to capitalize big on the opportunity he has at the state meet, which would close out his senior year with a bang.

Alex Tatum - Hickory Flat High School

Hickory Flat's Alex Tatum has shaved off major time since the start of the season (over 2 minutes) coming into the state meet with a PR of 18:03. Tatum will be looking to compete for that first place spot against ETupelo Christian's Elijah Park. He placed second overall at the MHSAA Region 2-1A meet, clocking in with a time of 18:25. Tatum has a great opportunity to capitalize on his senior season with a high note.

Chandler Ray - Falkner High School

Falkner's Chandler Ray set a personal record at Saltillo Cross Country Invitational with an 18:11, earning himself a second-place finish. Ray also ran the same time at the MHSAA Region 2-1A meet, ultimately winning the entire meet. He ran an 18:19 earlier this season, placing second overall at the Hickory Flat Invitational. Ray has had a pretty consistent season overall, putting himself in a good position to make a jump at the state race.

Bounds Simmons - Tupelo Christian

The top returner to this year's state meet, Tupelo Christian's Bound Simmons has had a very consistent, competitive season, placing high in almost all of the meets he has raced in. Simmons comes into the state meet with a PR of 18:18 that he ran at Watson. He also won the Region 1A-1 meet with a time of 18:38. Simmons will help Tupelo Christian score big in the team scoring and can also make a substantial jump at the state meet as well.

Key Matchups

Elijah Park (Tupelo Christian) v. Alex Tatum (Hickory Flat)

The biggest key matchup in this race will come down between Tupelo Christian's Elijah Park and Hickory Flat's Alex Tatum. Both runners have matched up against each other 3 times heading into this state meet. Coming into this race, Park ran an 18:56 at his regional race while Tatum ran an 18:25 at his. Regardless, Park has the fastest seed time coming in, but Tatum will be pushing Park, especially with the momentum that he has heading into this race. It will be a very fun race that you won't want to miss out on!

Chandler Ray (Falkner) v. Bounds Simmons (Tupelo Christian)

Another key matchup to look out for is Falkner's Chandler Ray and Tupelo Christian's Bounds Simmons. Both runners have had very similar, consistent seasons this year, running close averages between each other. Running both similar PRs, both will definitely be pushing each other throughout the race. Expect a solid race between the two!

In all honesty, the state title race will most likely come down to 1 of these 4, which should also be a great matchup in itself. 

Team Matchups

French Camp v. Tremont

For the team race, a very tight matchup between French Camp and Tremont is about to go down. Heading into this race, French Camp is seeded second with a seed score of 82 points while Tremont is seeded third with 92 points (only a 10 point difference between both teams). The deciding factor will come down between French Camp's and Tremont's third and fourth runners, who all are within seconds of each other. The competition between their third and fourth runners could disrupt Tupelo Christian's scoring, who is currently projected to win the state title with a team score of 44 points. This team race could turn out to be closer than expected!