Talk of the Town: 2023 XC Making History in Mississippi

Simpson Duo Break 18:50 in 5K

At the 2023 Simpson Academy Invitational, Lilly Overby and Layla Warren of Simpson Academy further solidified their status as the premier duo in Mississippi cross country.

Both runners shattered the sub-18:50 mark, an extraordinary accomplishment that has not been achieved since the renowned Mattox sisters in 2015. Overby clinched the win with a remarkable time of 18:30.9, besting her personal record by a stunning 20 seconds. Not far behind, Warren also set a new personal best, clocking in at 18:45.7. This feat now proudly positions them with the second and third fastest 5K performances in the state for the season.

Beyond their personal achievements, Overby and Warren broke the course record of 18:50, adding another prestigious accolade to their burgeoning careers.

The performances of these exceptional athletes at the Simpson Academy Invitational not only underscore their individual talents but also showcase the depth and capability of the Simpson Academy team, making them a force to be reckoned with as the season progresses.

St. Andrew's Win Simpson in Phenomenal Execution 

In a compelling narrative of triumph, the St. Andrew's Episcopal Lady Saints astonished spectators at the 2023 Simpson Academy Invitational with an extraordinary team performance.

Demonstrating exceptional pack running, the Lady Saints outperformed the top-tier programs such as Simpson Academy and Columbia Academy, earning a victorious score of just 39 points. Their collective effort was showcased in a remarkable 1-5 split of 1:13 and a 5K average time of 20:34.

Now holding the title for the best No. 4 and 5 runners in the state with a time of 21:09, the Lady Saints are on a meteoric rise. The prospect of all five runners breaking the 21-minute barrier seems not just a possibility, but an imminent reality.

This breathtaking performance catapults St. Andrew's from an unranked position to being acknowledged as one of the elite teams in Mississippi. If this momentum sustains, the Lady Saints could potentially emerge as one of the most formidable teams in the last half-decade.

The eagerly anticipated matchup against current No. 1 East Rankin Academy at Watson this season is set to be a riveting contest, and one that will undoubtedly be a highlight of this year's cross country calendar.

Oberto wins Clinton in 15:40, 1st-ever 5K(XC) win

At the 2023 Clinton Arrow Invitational, Farren Oberto of Pearl High School made an indelible mark with his maiden 5K cross country win, stopping the clock at a course record of 15:40. This splendid performance led the top-ranked Pearl Pirates to another triumphant victory this season.

Oberto's impeccable race execution saw him maintain the lead from start to finish, showcasing remarkable determination and grit. Despite a tight race with about 400 meters to go against teammate Jaquavion Bryant, Oberto unleashed a powerful kick that secured his win with a 12-second personal best. Bryant, not far behind, clocked in at 15:50, also breaking the course record and contributing to Pearl's dominant 1-2 finish.

The unfolding narrative of Oberto's consistent and improving performances holds the cross country community in eager anticipation. Can Oberto continue this momentum and face off victoriously against notable North Mississippians like Bailey Kosko and Andrew Brown in upcoming matchups?

His newfound racing prowess and undeniable consistency set the stage for exhilarating contests in the races to come, further elevating the pulse of Mississippi's Cross Country scene. 

Kosko Secures 3rd Straight Win in Thrilling Finish

In an electrifying showdown at the Varsity Boys 5K at the 2023 Tupelo Invitational, Oxford's Bailey Kosko made a striking statement, illustrating his meteoric ascent in Mississippi's distance running arena.

From the onset, the top five - Kosko, Graham Weiss, Andrew Brown, Taylor Brown, and Giles Jones - distanced themselves, establishing a clear lead by the halfway mark. As the second mile approached, Kosko's relentless surges began to widen the chasm between him and the competitors.

With half a mile to go, the separation was unyielding as Kosko's pace maintained its ferocity. His resolute sprint to the finish line shattered the course record with a time of 15:46, leaving the audience in awe. According to one spectator, "it was an earthquake when Kosko came storming through the line," a description apt for the earth-shaking performance.

Despite Kosko's dominance, the competition remained heated. Andrew Brown followed closely with a time of 15:49, and Graham Weiss finished a close third in 15:50, both also under the course record. Taylor Brown and Giles Jones rounded out the top five, each showcasing exceptional athleticism and grit, contributing to one of the most exciting and memorable races in recent Mississippi cross country history.

Burge Runs No. 5 5k in Last Decade

Kaitlyn Burge's breathtaking performance at the 2023 Tupelo Invitational is certainly the talk of the town, highlighting her unparalleled dominance on the High School Girl's Cross Country scene in Mississippi.

The Hernando senior executed a race that showcased both tactical intelligence and outstanding endurance. She established a notable lead over Tupelo's Brookelyn Morgan within the first mile, a gap that only widened as the race progressed. Burge's unstoppable momentum led her to a staggering 18:07 5K finish, earning her the top time in the state this year by a significant 23-second margin. Morgan finished runner-up in 18:58, breaking the 19-minute 5K barrier for the first time in her career.

This victory marks Burge's fifth consecutive win and fourth course record this season, maintaining her undefeated streak. Her time is also recorded as the fifth-fastest 5K performance in the last decade in Mississippi.

The last sub-18-minute 5K occurred in 2017 by Morgan Claire Rose - Could Burge challenge and potentially break the formidable 18-minute barrier this season?

Only time will tell. 

Girls 5000 Meter Run (Last Decade)

Kirk Academy
Long Beach High School
Starkville High School
Saltillo High School
Hernando High School
Vancleave High School
Hartfield Academy
Madison Central High School
Tupelo High School
Simpson Academy

Quick Hits

Battle of the Pine Belt

-Oak Grove High School Boys dominated the Battle of the Pine Belt, just a few days before racing at the Simpson Academy Invitational. Grayson Foster and Matthew McGuire secured two, 1-2 finished in a span of four days. 

-Oak Grove Freshman Samantha Kennedy won the Varsity Girls race in 21:08. 

Tupelo Invitational 

-Brodie Moore wins Small School Boys 5K at the Tupelo Invitational in 16:38, winning by by less than a second. 

-Ella Oursler upset the small school division at the Tupelo Invitational in 20:22. 

-Tupelo High School boys and girls dominate on their home course

-Corinth's Silvestre Lopez runs 10:29 and is the only runner to break 11 in JH division

-Tupelo's Carrie Ann Brown out-leaned Mary White to win JH girls at Tupelo

Clinton Arrow Invitational

-Alex Lee won the Clinton Arrow Invitational in 19:28, second win this season

-Clinton's Kaedyn Wilson set the school record for second place in 19:43. 

-Pearl put 5 Middle School boys in the top 11 of Middle School Division

Resurrection Catholic Invitational

-Ocean Springs duo Trent Lansdown and James Robert secured 1-2 finish for the Greyhounds, boing going 16:50. 

-Addison Rainey won the Varsity Girls 5K by over 60 seconds in a stellar time of 19:29. 

-Bella Graves won her third race in a row in the Middle School Girls 2 Mile. 

Simpson Academy Invitational

-Grayson Taylor set the course record at Simpson as Oak Grove goes 1-3

-Natalie Payne won JV girls 2 mile at Simpson by 30 seconds in 13:27

-Christ Covenant's Samuel Lewis dominated JV Boys 2 mile in 10:37 as Christ Covenant goes 1-2 in race.