Meet Preview: 2022 Pontotoc XC Invitational

High School Boys Preview

*2021 MHSAA 2A Cross Country Champion Gabe McElwain owns the fastest 5K time of the Mississippi 2022 cross country season after a 15:30 at the 2022 Jesse Owens Classic

Photo credits: Christian Leach, MileSplit Mississippi

The Rundown:

Hot off of a massive 5K PR of 15:30 at the 2022 Jesse Owens Classic, Gabe McElwain is returning to Mississippi to make some more noise at the 2022 Pontotoc XC Invitational.

McElwain's only loss to another Mississippi prep has come from The Opener, where he crossed the line four seconds behind Oak Grove's Bennett Ferguson. Since then, the Walnut High School senior has gone undefeated to any other Mississippi prep this season.

It's safe to say that if McElwain, who is the fastest Mississippian on the 2022 cross-country circuit. 

However, a dark horse, Falkner's Chandler Ray, could stand in McElwain's way

*Falkner's Chandler Ray taking the win at the 2022 Tennessee River Classic

Photo credits: MileSplit Alabama

Ray has taken a short hiatus from racing since the weekend of September 24th. However, he has a nice 16:03 5K PR to his name from the 2022 Mooreville XC Invitational.

In the Large School Varsity Boys 5K, all eyes are on Parker Shannon of Saltillo and Bailey Kosko of Oxford.

Shannon has run 16:03 twice in the 5K this season and has yet to lose to Kosko.

However, the Oxford sophomore does have momentum on his side, as he is coming off a PR of 16:18 in the 5K at the 2022 Jesse Owens Classic. Kosko's consistency is also something to note. For the past four weeks, he has been within 24 seconds of his new PR at every single meet.

State Editor's Pick: Although there is some solid competition from North Mississippi in both races in High School Boys competition, we feel like there are distinct favorites in each division: Gabe McElwain in Small School and Parker Shannon in Large School. 

*Parker Shannon, Saltillo High School

Photo credits: Evan Del Rio, MileSplit Mississippi

As we always say, anything can happen on race day, and it's not like there is a 100 percent chance that they will win. But, we feel they have the most significant percentage to come away with the win. 

Upsets can and do happen, but Shannon and McElwain have won too convincingly over their competition for us not to pick them to take the W on Friday.