Myrtle, East Union win state titles in cross country

County dominance in cross country continues as Myrtle and East Union claimed the state championships in 1A and 2A girls cross country on Saturday in Clinton.

The Lady Urchins repeated in 2A, edging New Site by seven points, 41-48. Katie Rowan was the top finisher for the team, finishing fifth with a time of 17:28. Haleigh Snyder and Beth Skelley also finished in the top 10, and East Union had five runners finish in the top 14, (Heather Dillard at 11th and Emily Bruce at 12th), earning All-State honors.
“We were not happy being third (at Union Co. Championships), but on the other hand, the competition in Union County is so tough; the competition made us better and helped us get ready for state,” coach Nathan McLellen said. “They dedicated themselves to work hard, and I had my top five girls run their fastest times of the year, some of them by far, because they worked hard and dedicated themselves and wanted to be successful.”
Myrtle reclaimed the title in 1A, beating last year’s champion and county rival West Union by four points, 35-39.
Savannah Shirley of West Union won the individual title, finishing with a time of 16:14, followed by Myrtle’s Katina High. Halle Knowles finished in fourth, Samantha Shettles in seventh and Rachel Peeler in 10th rounded out the Lady Hawks’ top 10 finishers. The title is the fourth in five years for the Lady Hawks.
“The girls did a great job, as did West Union,” coach Chris Greer said. “It was great to be able to achieve the goal we set for ourselves this season, and they went as hard as they could. All of my girls ran a season best, and that’s what you want at this time in the season.”
“Katina is a great runner, and I don’t think she understands just yet how big this is, but she has a lot of talent, as do my other girls, and I’m happy to see us accomplish this goal.”
For the boys, West Union’s Hunter Jennings was the top finisher for Union County in the 1A race, placing third with a time of 17:50. The Eagles finished in a tie with Myrtle as a team with 104 total points. Justin Pickens was the top finisher for the Hawks in 11th, and Ingomar’s Tyler Warren finished in eighth to lead the Falcons. French Camp and West Lincoln finished ahead of the Hawks and Eagles.
East Union finished third in 2A boys, led by Cody Dillard, who finished ninth. Ryan Skelley and Brett Rakestraw also finished in the top 15 for the Urchins. J.Z. George won the overall team title with a total of 28 points, followed by Potts Camp.
New Albany claimed fifth and eighth in the 4A races. Daniel Drummond was the top finisher for the boys, finishing 27th, while Laura Creekmore’s finish in 34th was tops for the Lady Bulldogs. Pontotoc repreated as state champs in both boys and girls.