Meet Preview: 2023 MHSAA 1A-4A Cross Country Championships

Mississippi's Cross Country scene has shown tremendous growth over the years, and as we approach the MHSAA Cross Country Championships, it's evident that the state is brimming with talent, passion, and fierce competition.

So, without further ado, let's dive into the top storylines across different classifications!

**It should be noted that MHSAA 4A is included in this preview, but will compete on Saturday, November 4**

*Ally Murphy trailing Ella Oursler at the 2023 Tupelo Invitational


  • Brodie Moore is poised to shine following a robust 2023 Cross Country season, boasting six wins and a 5K PR of 16:09. He's favored to claim his second class title, but Tupelo Christian's Bounds Simmons might give him stiff competition, at least in the initial stages.
  • With Moore at the helm, the West Union Eagles are in a strong position to clinch their second consecutive MHSAA 1A title, potentially surpassing Tupelo Christian once again.
  • Ally Murphy of Myrtle, formerly the reigning champion of MHSAA 2A, is now eyeing dominance in MHSAA 1A. As the top seed with a sub-20-minute performance and six wins this season, she's also aiming for her fourth class title.
  • In the team standings, a fierce rivalry ensues between Myrtle and Tupelo Christian. Despite Myrtle's consistent triumphs over Tupelo Christian this season, a smaller field might yield different results. A strong finish by Murphy and Hogue is crucial for Myrtle Lady Hawks, while Tupelo Christian will bank on their depth and pack running.

*Gauge Montgomery on the finishing stretch at the 2023 MHSAA Central Mississippi Regionals


  • St. Andrew's Episcopal is projected to dominate MHSAA 2A, especially in the girls' race. They might achieve a perfect score by placing all their runners in the top five. However, Scott Central's Virtasia Shepard could be the potential disruptor to this plan.

*Jack Hewes at the 2023 MHSAA Central Mississippi Regionals


  • Jack Hewes is the one to watch on Thursday at the MHSAA 1A-2A-3A Cross Country Championships. With a recent solo 5K performance of 16:14 in hotter conditions, he's the favored contender, especially with a seed time of 16:14 and only sub-17 5K, other than fellow teammate Joseph Ross
  • Speaking of the Fighting Irish, Hewes is not only expected to shine individually but also to spearhead the Saint Patrick Fighting Irish towards another MHSAA 3A team victory. The team features a stacked lineup that includes athletes like Hewes, Ross, Tristan Davis and Luke Meyers, might prove insurmountable for rivals rivals-from-the-north Alcorn Central, who seem to be the closest team to match up with the Fighting Irish.
  • Kossuth Senior Eva Null is the top seed with a sub-21 5K this season. Yet, she faces competition from upcoming talent Emily Avent from East Webster High and other formidable runners like Jayden Ware and Lillieann Bentz from the Lady Fighting Irish.
  • Statistically, Kossuth High emerges as the team to beat, with potential top 10 placements for their key runners, backed by the best 5K average and a cohesive performance range.

*Emma Ruffin and Ella Shepherd at the 2023 Saltillo XC Invitational


  • Caledonia is in the individual spotlight, with Emma Ruffin and Ella Shepherd as the top two seeds in the girl's race. However, they face stuff competition from Ella Oursler of Senatobia, Macy Bain of South Pontotoc, and Yazlyn Alex of Choctaw Central. Oursler has won several races  earlier in the season and has proven she knows how to win, while Bain and Alex are potential dark horses in the competition. 

  • While Caledonia may have a tight hold on individual performances, South Pontotoc, with their No. 1 5K average and 1-5 split, is well-positioned to take the crown in the team battle

  • In the boys' race, Dylan Reed is the top seed with a 16:52 performance, the field's lone sub-17 5K. However, New Albany's Aiden Patterson and Senatobia's Austin Winstead are close competitors, with Winstead having a 3200m class title from 2021 and a recent win at their respective region championships. The matchups between these runners have been closely contested all season long, promising a thrilling race.

The growth of Cross Country in Mississippi is evident, and as we gear up for the MHSAA XC Championships, the excitement is undeniable. From individual showdowns to team battles, it's all set for a grand spectacle.

So, Mississippi, let's lace up those shoes and relish some good old-fashioned competition!