By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The streaks are impressive.
The Tupelo High School Lady Wave cross country team have won 10 straight state championships. The Tupelo boys have won nine of the last 10 large- school titles.
Tupelo hopes to continue streaking Saturday at the Class 6A MHSAA Cross Country Championships, hosted on Mississippi College’s Choctaw Trails in Clinton.
“I think the girls are focused,” Tupelo girls coach Anna Sloan said. “To get No. 11, we’ll have to run our best.”
Freshman Christina Daniels has turned in some of the best times in the state this season. With the third-best reported 4K time in the state, Daniels’ 15 minutes, 17 seconds mark ranks her first in 6A, important points for the Lady Wave with the challenging finishing hill at Choctaw Trails awaiting.
“It’s been very encouraging the way we’ve run the last month or so,” Sloan said. “Some of the girls were banged up at the beginning of the season, but the top runners have healed now.”
The remainder of the top seven for the Lady Wave should be Madison Nash, Callie Watson, Melia Milne, Sabrina Hudgins, Mika Takahashi, and Larkin Robbins.
The 6A girls race begins at noon Saturday.
The Golden Wave boys come into the state meet off a consistently strong season, led by Andrew White. The Tupelo sophomore has the best-reported 5K time in the state this season, a 16:12 at the Jesse Owens Classic in Moulton, Ala.
“I’m really excited to see what the team can do in this meet,” Tupelo boys coach Jonathan Begnaud said. “We’ve given them some time to rest and prepared for this, and I don’t have any doubts they’ll be ready to perform on that day.”
Tupelo had a streak of nine straight state titles snapped last year by Clinton, but Begnaud does not think that will be a major factor on Saturday.
“You have to worry about Clinton because they are the defending champion, but I don’t think we can focus on one team.
“We have to run a smart race.”
Joining White in the top seven for Tupelo will be Garrett Rogers, Darnell Collier, Michael Robinson, Corey Batson, Josh Lazore and Caleb Russell.
The 6A boys race begins at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.