Welcome to the Monthly Middle School Recap, where we shine a spotlight on the young athletes taking the Mississippi Cross Country scene by storm.
September was filled with heart-pounding races, impressive finishes, and budding stars proving their mettle on the tracks and trails across the state. The dedication and talent showcased by these middle school runners are awe-inspiring, setting the stage for an exciting season ahead.
A Star in the Making: Silvestre Lopez
Corinth's own Silvestre Lopez is unquestionably making a name for himself as Mississippi's premier middle school runner.
A force to be reckoned with, Lopez boasts an unblemished record, reigning victorious in all five races this season. His standout performance at the 2023 Tupelo Invitational, clocking a blistering 10:29 in the 2-mile, solidifies his reputation as a fierce competitor. His prowess places him within the top 20 nationally for 2-mile Cross Country performances, holding a prestigious 16th ranking.
The future promises bright horizons for this young athlete as he races ahead, eyeing Andrew Brown's coveted 3,000m state record.
Ocean Springs' Bella Graves: Riding the Wave to Victory
Also undefeated this season, Bella Graves from Ocean Springs is leaving a significant imprint on the middle school Cross Country landscape.
Claiming victory at the highly competitive The Opener at Choctaw Trails, Graves leads all middle schoolers in the state in both the 3000m and 3200m.
Fierce Competition: Carrie Ann Brown and Mary White
Tupelo's Carrie Ann Brown is another name creating waves the Mississippi middle school Cross Country circuit, leading all middle schoolers in the full 2-mile distance. Brown's undefeated status to any Mississippians this year set the scene for an epic showdown with Graves at the anticipated 2023 MHSAA Middle School Classic.
Yet, the competition runs deep with the emergence of Eupora's Mary White. Ranking as the No. 2 2-miler in the state this year, White has also had quite the resume, which includes taking Brown to the line at the 2023 Tupelo Invitational.
That said, keep an eye on the small school star as the season continues to progress, and as she may have more tricks up her sleeve.
The Jewel of East Rankin: Jewel Baker
In the varsity scene, sixth-grader Jewel Baker from East Rankin contributes significantly to the No. 1 ranked East Rankin Academy's success, the top girl's team in the state this year. This remarkable achievement showcases her potential as a future star in Mississippi Cross Country.
Rising Teams and Future Stars
Keep an eye on other burgeoning talents such as MRA's Blair Britt, East Rankin's Emma Raines, and Myrtle's Ally Murphy, all making their mark on the Mississippi varsity girls running scene. Additionally, St. Andrew's Episcopal, the state's No. 2 girls team, boasts three middle schoolers on their varsity squad, demonstrating the depth of young talent waiting to burst onto the scene in the near future.
Additionally, while the present Pearl High School is certainly dominating the Mississippi Varsity Boys running scene, the future also shows promise. The Junior Pirates have been blowing through competitions, recently placing four in the top six led by race winner Wyatt Chapa at the 2023 Clinton Arrow Cross Country Invitational.
As the season progresses, anticipation builds for more exhilarating races and emerging talents in the Mississippi middle school Cross Country arena.
Stay tuned for competitions, including the MHSAA Middle School Classic, where fans are bound to witness epic duels, unwavering spirit, and the ascent of tomorrow's running stars.