BENTON, Miss. --- The field size was small but mighty on Monday at the 2022 Benton Academy XC Invitational.
The first race was the Varsity Girls with the gun set to off at 4:00 PM. This race included Madison Ridgeland Academy, the No. 4 ranked High School Girl's team in Mississippi, 5 x MAIS 3A State Champion Lindsey Hogue of Benton Academy, and the Saint Aloysius HS duo of Samantha Edwards and Hendrix Eldridge.
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With fast competition and Fall weather finally kicking in, the Varsity Girls went after it and gave the course record of 20:49 a scare in the end.
Home course favorite Lindsey Hogue took it out hot, and MRA's Mae Ellen Mallet, coming off a big 5K PR at The Opener, followed close behind.
RESULTS: The Opener - Varsity Girls
Mallet made a hard move early, passing Hogue at the 1k mark. The St. Aloysius duo of Edwards and Eldridge decided to take a more conservative approach, sitting back in fourth and fifth and slowly picking off the field - The same winning strategy they used at the 2022 Victors Kickoff at the Quarry.
RACE VIDEO: Victors Kickoff at the Quarry
When the lead cart came out of the woods with one mile to go, Edwards and Eldridge and taken the lead, challenging the MRA duo of Mallet and Reese Johnson to go with them.
Although Johnson and Mallet had accepted the challenge and answered the Lady Flashes' gear changes, Eldridge and Edwards ultimately pulled away in the last half mile.
Eldridge crossed the line first in 20:55, good No. 2 All-time in course record history. Edwards was right behind her teammate, clocking in a 20:58, No. 3 All-time in course history.
COURSE RECORDS: Benton Country Club High School Girls 5K
MRA's Johnson and Mallet finished third and fourth, running 21:18 and 21:22.
Hogue rounded out the top five in a time of 21:24 for 5K.
The Varsity Boy's 5K followed suit, with Madison St. Joseph and All-MileSplit Mississippi XC team member William Fugate on the starting line, poised as the favorite.
Fugate took the early lead and never looked back, stopping the clock in a 5K time of 16:39.
With that performance, Fugate won by two minutes and 13 seconds and broke the course record by one minute and 25 seconds.
COURSE RECORDS: Benton Country Club High School Boys 5K