HATTIESBURG, Miss. --- The MAIS and Homeschool cross country state meets are getting closer, and with that, those athletes are reaching their peak fitness - The 2022 Forerunner Lakeshore Run is a testament to that statement.
There were four varsity divisions at the Hattiesburg Forerunners Meet, as public schools and home schools have to separate in competition due to association rules.
In the Green Division Boys 5K, Dallas Stricker snagged his fifth win of the 2022 cross country season, and third sub-17 5K in a row, taking down Mississippi Homeschool star Henry Richardson, 16:49.7 to 17:19.1. Christopher Atkinson, a prominent figure in MAIS 5A, placed third in 17:25.2.
*Dallas Stricker, Heritage Christian Academy
Photo credits: Paul Balcer
Stricker has been running phenomenally as of late and looks poised to defend his MAIS 2A individual title on the grass and potentially go for a top 15-20 spot at the 2022 Mississippi All-State Cross Country Championships.
In the Green Division Girls 5K, All-MileSplit Mississippi XC No. 4 Layla Warren did what she does best, aggressively frontrunning to victory in 19:49, over 90 seconds ahead of the runner-up. This win was the Simpson Academy freshman's fourth of the season.
*Layla Warren winning the 2022 Early Bird 2-miler
Photo credits: MileSplit Mississippi
However, one of the most intriguing results from this race was that the Hattiesburg Forerunners took down Simpson Academy, the No. 3 ranked high school girls team in the state, by four points - 30-34. Yes, we know that Simpson was not at full force as they did not have 18:55 5K runner Lilly Overby, the All-MileSplit Mississippi XC No. 7 ranked runner who currently owns the only sub-19 5K on the Mississippi High School Girls cross country scene.
Still, the Hattiesburg Forerunners showed off their depth and proved they can hold their own against stiff competition.
Moving on to the Yellow Division, we saw a name that we have been itching to see back on the cross-country circuit: Jack Hewes of Saint Patrick.
Hewes took the easy win in 16:31, over two minutes ahead of the next competitor across the line. After a 17:12 5K at the 2022 Mobile Cross Country Challenge of Champions to open up his season exactly one month prior, this performance looked more like vintage Jack Hewes.
*Jack Hewes ran 15:57 to win the Blue Division at the 2021 Watson High School Meet
Photo credits: Brock Kelly
The Biloxi, Miss. native also led the Fighting Irish to a top-four sweep, taking the team title with a score of 18 points over multiple MHSAA 5A and 6A programs.
Petal teammates Deacon Crum, Waylon Parker, and Christian Bingham led the way in the Junior High Boys' 2-mile, with Drum winning in 12:40.3. Parker and Bingham also finished in sub-13 2-mile times, and Petal won in a perfect score of 15 points.
Lamar's Lenox Joyner took home the Junior High Girls' individual title in a 2-mile time of 14:08.2.