Miss. HS Boys XC: Incoming freshmen that can make an impact

Top 10 Incoming Freshman Boys

Evan Hallford, Neshoba Central







16:48.00 HENRY RICHARDSON | Hattiesburg Forerunners2026HXN Championships | 9th 


17:37.20 TRISTAN DAVIS | Saint Patrick High School2026MHSAA Region 5-6-7 XC Championships 3rd 


17:59.84 DENVER CARTER | Simpson Academy20262021 Watson High School Meet | 22nd 


18:08.00 EVAN HALLFORD | Neshoba Central HS2026French Camp Classic 7th 


18:10.09 HOLLAND SMITH | Germantown High School2026Mississippi XC Meet of Champions | 63rd 


18:12.41 HARLAN TAGERT | Starkville High School2026MHSAA 6A XC Championships | 66th 


18:12.50 JOSEPH ROSS | Saint Patrick High School2026MHSAA Region 5-6-7 XC Championships | 8th 


18:49.60 EMJAE WILLIS | Neshoba Central HS2026MHSAA Region 5-6-7 XC Championships 4th 


18:49.66COOPER RAINER | West Lauderdale HS2026MHSAA Region 5-6-7 XC Championships 6th 


18:58.30 AUSTIN HARMON | West Lauderdale HS2026MHSAA 4A XC Championships | 36th 
CROSS COUNTRY RANKINGS: Full List of Incoming Freshman Boys 

The Rundown:

Wow... For starters, the future of Mississippi High School Boys cross country looks very promising!

First off, there is no doubt that Henry Richardson of the Hattiesburg Forerunners and Tristan Davis of Saint Patrick High School have already achieved some outstanding things in their young careers. 

Richardson is already an eight-time Mississippi Homeschool state champion and has put down some very impressive middle school marks such as 4:45 in the 1600m, 10:20 in the 3200m, and 16:48 in the 5k. 

READ NEXT: Future Stars: Hattiesburg Forerunners' Henry Richardson

And as for Davis, we of course have to mention his 3k state record from the 2021 Watson High School Meet in perhaps the greatest middle school race in Mississippi history, opening up in a sub-5 mile and beating out middle school phenom Andrew Brown in a final time of 9:39. 

Davis also placed third in both the 2021 MHSAA 3A Cross Country Championships and the 2022 MHSAA 3A Track and Field Championships in the 1600m, in a classification with superstars Keegan Leverett and Jack Hewes

RESULTS: 2021 Watson High School Meet

Saint Patrick has quite the up-and-coming crew with the likes of Davis, as well as teammate Joseph Ross, who is No. 7 on the list of incoming freshmen for the 2022 cross country season. 

Ross placed third in that historic race mentioned above in a 3k time of 10:22, which is the fourth fastest 3k time in Mississippi Middle School Cross Country history. 

RANKINGS: Mississippi Middle School Boys 3k List

Saint Patrick won the 2021 MHSAA 3A High School Boys Cross Country team title, and they look to be in good hands with Davis and Ross, among others. 

Another solid duo for the future is Neshoba Central HS's Evan Hallford and Emjae Willis.

They got a taste of varsity in 2021 whenever they stepped up to their high school squad in the second half of their season. They were their team's No. 3 and 4 on their respective high school squad, and are now the top two returners heading into 2022. 

Hallford also earned a state qualifier in the 3200m, and went on to place eighth at the 2022 MHSAA 5A Track and Field Championships. 

RESULTS: 2022 MHSAA 5A Track and Field Championships

Willis and Hallford placed third and fourth at their middle school state championships in the large school division, and right in front of them was Holland Smith of Germantown High School, another future star in the making. 

Holland Smith, Germantown High School

Smith has had loads of success as a middle school distance runner, garnering a total of five wins in his eighth-grade cross country season. 

Smith is looking to be Germantown's returning fifth man, but maybe even slot into their top three by the end of the season. 

We of course can't forget about Denver Carter of Simpson Academy, the only other runner besides Richardson and Davis who has gone sub-18 during his eighth-grade year. 

Carter smoked the junior high cross country circuit in 2021 with four straight wins, as well as a seventh-place finish at the 2021 MAIS 5A Cross Country Championships. 

RESULTS: 2021 MAIS 5A Cross Country Championships

Carter also ran a PR in the 1600m of 5:01 at the 2022 MAIS 5A Track and Field Championships

Harlan Tagert of Starkville High School is yet another future star that could one day be a top dog in MHSAA 6A. 

In 2021, Tagert had a win at the 2021 TCPS Twilight, finished at the 2021 Mississippi Middle School State Meet right behind Willis and Hallford, and was the top eighth-grader at the 2021 MHSAA 6A Cross Country Championships. 

Last but not least, one final duo to mention is the West Lauderdale HS 1-2 punch of Cooper Rainer and Austin Harmon, as well as a third teammate, Landry Maxwell

Maxwell was one of the first ones out of making the top 10 incoming freshmen for the 2022 season, but was right with his teammates in every single race, and was even their top finisher at the 2021 Mississippi Middle School State Meet. 

They won the Medium School division at the 2021 Mississippi Middle School State Meet, and were also the team's No. 2, 3, and 4 runners, and are now the top three returners for the squad. 

All in all, these three are a very solid trio that could potentially one day bring West Lauderdale a team title in MHSAA 4A. 

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