Meet Preview: Simpson Academy Early Bird 2-miler

High School Girls Individual Preview

Ella Rankin, Hartfield Academy

Defending Champion: Layla Warren (Simpson Academy)

Meet record: Layla Warren, 12:43.60

Course record: Lilly Overby, 12:36.90

No. 1 seed: Ella Rankin (Hartfield Academy)

The Rundown: 

Moving onto the high school girl's individual preview, we have a star-studded field at the 2022 Early Bird 2-miler. 

Leading that field is the current All-MileSplit Mississippi XC No. 3 and 3 x MAIS State Champion out of Hartfield Academy, Ella Rankin!

Rankin popped on to the elite Mississippi distance running scene at the 2021 Watson High School Meet whenever she ran 19:01 and finished as the second Mississippian, just one second behind Tupelo's Brookelyn Morgan

READ NEXT: HSG All-MileSplit Mississippi Preseason XC Teams: No. 2 and 3

The last time Rankin was on grass was her 2021 MAIS 6A Cross Country State Title, taking down multiple private school talents and winning in 19:33. 

RESULTS: 2021 MAIS 6A Cross Country Championships

Although Rankin is considered the favorite, she is not the only All-MileSplit Mississippi XC team member that will be racing tomorrow morning in Magee, Miss... Opening up her season on her home course is the All-MileSplit Mississippi No. 7 ranked runner from Simpson Academy, Layla Warren

Layla Warren, Simpson Academy 

As one can see above, Warren is the Early Bird 2-miler defending champion, winning back in 2021 in a meet record time of 12:43.60. 

Warren is coming off of a phenomenal track season where she hit a PR in every distance event running 2:27.6 in the 800m, 5:24.5 in the 1600m, and 11:52.7 in the 3200m. 

Although Warren is only a rising freshman, she already has quite the resume as a 4 x MAIS state champion. 

Tomorrow, she will try and add one more win to that resume against a stacked field. 

Lastly, two more names that could come out of nowhere and steal the win are Leah Collipp out of East Rankin Academy, and Warren's teammate Lilly Overby who is the Neely Farms course record holder in the 2-mile. 

Collipp is one of the only long-distance runners in the MAIS that took down Warren during Warren's monstrous 2022 track and field campaign, out kicking her at the 2022 Forerunner Warm-up Meet in the 1600m. She also placed third in the 3200m behind Warren and Overby at the 2022 MAIS 5A Track and Field Championships, earning her first state championship medal of her young career. 

Overby had an outstanding 2022 track and field campaign, garnering two silver medals behind Warren at the 2022 MAIS 5A Track and Field Championships. 

There is a chance that Warren and Overby could be the best duo in the MAIS, and they will try and prove it on Saturday. 

Here is our pick: Although this is an outstanding field, we don't think there are going to be any upsets tomorrow - Rankin takes the win. However, the absolute worst that Warren will finish is second, and if she loses, she certainly will not be far behind. 

What do you think??

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