The current chart underlines the competitive depth of MHSAA 7A against the broader state canvas, as this division occupies a whopping four out of the top four spots and six within the top 10. This ranking underscores the crucial aspect of not just having a leading 'low stick' runner but complementing that with one or two more speedsters clocking in at 17:00 or even swifter. Taking it a notch higher, if your No. 4 and No. 5 runners are marking 17:30 or faster, it's a bonus.
For Pearl High School, currently the reigning No. 1 team in Mississippi, this is just another day on the field. Their roster boasts of six runners crossing the finish line under 17 minutes. And as the season progresses, this number is only anticipated to rise. The school's glory is further accentuated by two stellar athletes, Farren Oberto and Jaquavion Bryant, both of whom have made their mark on the All-MileSplit Mississippi XC Individual team. While the Pirates may have wanted to perform better on the team front at The Opener, they still clinched an impressive victory against Ruston, a notable name in Louisiana's cross country realm, and a subsequent dominating performance against No. 4 ranked Oak Grove High School.
Hot on Pearl's trail in the MHSAA 7A division for the coveted runner-up position are Tupelo High School and Madison Central High School. These fierce competitors went toe-to-toe at the Memphis Twilight Classic, with Tupelo emerging on top. However, keeping them on their toes is Oak Grove High School Warriors, a team that's been rapidly upping their game. These powerhouses are anticipated to offer a thrilling spectacle at the 2023 MHSAA 7A Cross Country Championships.
Breaking the MHSAA 7A mold in the top five is the dynamic Brookhaven High School Panthers. Their young squad is the leading light outside the MHSAA 7A circuit. The Panthers have been garnering attention with their formidable runs, notably clinching a win at the Northwest Rankin Invitational against Madison Central. Although it's crucial to note that Madison Central wasn't at their full strength, Brookhaven's victory remains noteworthy.