Way Too Early XC Rankings: MHSAA 6A Boys


In the shifting landscape of Mississippi high school cross country, with the addition of a new MHSAA 7A classification, the 6A classification has found itself in a new position: as the second-largest grouping in the MHSAA. Despite these changes, one thing appears to be steadfast as the 2023 season approaches: the dominance of Saltillo High School Boys Team.

Saltillo High: The Titan of Mississippi's 6A

Saltillo enters the 2023 season with a lofty accolade: they are the No. 2 ranked boys' team in all of Mississippi. They are not newcomers to this kind of attention, having the opportunity this year to clinch their second consecutive MHSAA team title.

With five runners sitting atop the 2023 MHSAA 6A Boys Preseason Cross Country rankings, Saltillo's team isn't just aiming to participate-they are looking to dominate.

The Saltillo Sensation: Parker Shannon

Leading Saltillo's quest for another championship is Parker Shannon, a rising senior with an impressive resume. As a three-time MHSAA 5A Champion, Shannon is no stranger to high-pressure races, and he's proven time and time again that he can deliver when it counts. His achievements have earned him a spot on the All-MileSplit Mississippi Boys Cross Country preseason team.

Shannon is Saltillo's 'low stick,' and with a personal record that speaks for itself, it's hard to see a scenario where he isn't leading his team across the finish line.

A Stellar Supporting Squad

But Shannon isn't alone; he's part of a formidable ensemble. Saltillo boasts four more runners with 5K (XC) times under 17 minutes. In cross country, where packing is key, Saltillo's top five have the close grouping that coaches dream of, and that spells trouble for their competition.

The Challenger: Evan Hallford of Neshoba Central

While Saltillo's team appears poised to steamroll the competition, there is a notable name that could throw a wrench in their plans: Evan Hallford of Neshoba Central. The third-place finisher from the 2022 MHSAA 5A Cross Country Championships is not to be overlooked.

Hallford's talent and tenacity could pose a significant challenge, and potentially break up Saltillo's tight pack. His presence in the race will undoubtedly add an extra layer of excitement and competition.

The Verdict

With Shannon leading a star-studded Saltillo team, it's hard to imagine a scenario where they don't claim the 2023 MHSAA 6A Boys Cross Country Championship title. However, as any seasoned cross country observer knows, race day can bring its own surprises.

We would be downright shocked if anyone in MHSAA 6A touches Saltillo on race day, but in a sport as unpredictable as cross country, anything can happen. Will Shannon lead Saltillo to another team win, or will Hallford and others rewrite the script?

Only time will tell!