Meet Preview: 2022 Miss. Middle School XC Championships

Small School Boys

The small school boys race will feature Jace Yates of East Webster who is hot off of a fifth-place finish at the 2022 Watson High School Cross Country Classic.

*Jace Yates at the 2022 Watson Cross Country Classic 

Photo credits: Brock Kelly

The Watson race this past weekend is a double-edged sword for many of the athletes competing in this race. They raced the course just a few days ago and it is fresh on their mind. However, this is a quick turnaround for their body to recover. Hopefully, the short turnaround will not be an issue for the runners and they can still perform at peak performance.

Yates has two wins so far this season. His first win was at the 2022 TCPS Twilight 1.5-mile race, where he won the 1A-3A division. The second win was at the 2022 Eagle Claw Invitational.

Through five races this season, Yates has never placed outside of the top five.

A threat to Yates is his own teammate - Miles Stidham. Perhaps the biggest accomplishment of the eighth-grader's season was his first-place finish at the 2022 Saltillo Cross Country Invitational.

*Miles Stidham winning the 2022 Saltillo XC Invitational

Photo credits: Drew Lewis, Milesplit Mississippi

The East Webster duo has a great shot to go 1-2 in the Small School Boys race.

Weston Woods of TCPS will be trying to break up the East Webster pair. Woods' top finish this season was at the 2022 Saltillo Cross Country Invitational, where he placed third.

On the team side of the competition, it looks like East Webster has a great advantage on the rest of the field, especially with their top two runners' potential to place very high.

Small School Girls

The clear favorite for the Small School Girls race is Ally Murphy of Myrtle High School.

Murphy not only is undefeated this season but also undefeated in her running career. As a seventh-grader, Murphy has not lost a race yet, and we do not anticipate her to do so on Tuesday.

While she does not have a 3k time to her name, Murphy does have a 3200m personal best of 12:27.

Kambry Reed is a runner to keep an eye on this race. The East Webster seventh-grader is coming off an 11th-place finish at the 2022 Watson High School Classic. Reed was the top 1A or 2A finisher at Watson in the middle school girls race.

Taylor Payton is another athlete that could be in that top pack. Payton has placed toward the front of races all season, with her best being third at the 2022 TCPS Twilight.

In the team standings, East Webster is the team to beat. With the depth they have, it is likely they pull off the win.