By GENE PHELPS / NEMS Daily Journal
Football coaches usually welcome an open date. Tupelo cross country coach Nathan Hall is no exception.
The week before Hall’s Lady Wave and Golden Wave squads race for the programs’ 10th consecutive state championships, they are getting a rare Saturday off.
“This is something we’ve always done,” Hall said prior to Monday’s practice. “It gives you a chance to get over the knick-knack injuries.
“This year, probably for the first time, we don’t have any. Our top 10 runners, boys and girls, are healthy.”
The state meet is scheduled for Nov. 6 at Mississippi College’s Choctaw Trails in Clinton.
While Tupelo’s runners are getting a break with no meet scheduled, they are going through some tough workouts.
“We’ll start backing off next week,” Hall said.
Kacie Harris, a senior for the Lady Wave, said this year’s team wants to continue the program’s success in the state meet.
“We hope to continue the streak, get that 10th,” she said. “I’m not saying we’re definitely going to win, but we’re definitely going to go for it.”
Ranking the runners
Tupelo’s boys team is rated No. 1 in the state in all classes thanks to its average of 17:08 in the 5,000 meters. Pearl and Clinton are rated second and third.
Corinth is rated fifth, Starkville seventh and Oxford eighth in the top 10.
Tupelo’s Harrison Campeau, who ran a 16:42 at the Brooks Twilight Run in Memphis, has the fourth best 5K clocking in the state this season.
“I’d like to run under 16:30 at state,” Campeau said. “It would be my season-best if I do. The course (at MC) is a good one. You can run a pretty quick time there.”
Corinth’s Brian McDonnieal, who had a 16:43 at the Jesse Owens (Ala.) Invitational, is fifth, while Starkville’s Kamau Bostic is sixth with the 16:46 he record at the Brooks run.
Tupelo’s girls team is rated No. 1 in the state with its 16:27 average in the 4K. Saltillo is eighth and Pontotoc 10th.
The Lady Wave’s Katherine Steinman is ranked third with her 4K clocking of 16:00 at the THS Invitational. Teammate Christina Daniels is eighth with her 16:11 win at the Saltillo Invitational.
Pontotoc’s Katy McAuley is sixth overall with a 16:06 at the Mississippi College Invitational.