By GENE PHELPS / NEMS Daily Journal
SALTILLO – Christina Daniels’ race-day instinct told her to take the lead from the start. She listened.
The Tupelo eighth grader bolted to the front of the pack in Saturday’s annual Saltillo Invitational Cross Country Meet and won the Class 4A-6A championship in 16 minutes, 11 seconds.
Daniels, who finished 11th overall last year at the state meet in Clinton, defeated senior teammate Katherine Steinman for the first time this season. Steinman finished second in 16:22 on the course at the high school.
“I went with what I felt, what I could do,” said Daniels, who led the 4K race from start to finish. “There was nobody in front of me. I just kept going.”
Daniels’ successful wire-to-wire run didn’t surprise her coach, Nathan Hall.
“Katherine Steinman felt great. Christina just took the lead and held on,” he said. “She and Katherine have gone one-two all year.”
Daniels and Steinman led Tupelo to the team title with 18 points. Saltillo, led by Alyssa Kelley’s third-place finish in 16:53, was second with 58 points.
Danielle Cobb, a home-schooled freshman from Baldwyn running unattached, finished second overall in the 1A-3A girls race with a 16:53 clocking. Rachel Stowe of Hatton, Ala., won in 16:50.
Cobb competes with the Spartans Running Club, which is made up of home-schooled runners from North Mississippi.
“I was wanting to run a 15, 151/2,” Cobb said. “I started out pretty fast. Two girls passed me about three quarters into the race. I passed one on the way back up a hill to the finish.”
Prior to the Saltillo meet, Cobb’s top finish was 18th overall last season at a race in Clinton.
Corinth won the 1-3A girls team title with 62 points while Kossuth was second with 101. Four unattached runners finished in the top 10.
Tupelo boys win
Harrison Campeau covered the 5K boys course in 16:43 to win the 4A-6A race and help Tupelo claim the team title with 22 points.
Horn Lake’s Juan Villarreal was second overall in 17:13 while Tupelo’s Michael Paul Robinson was third in 17:16.
Corinth, led by winner Brian McDonnieal in 16:57, was the 1A-3A boys champion with 35 points. Hatton, Ala., was second with 75 points and East Union third with 99.
In the junior high division, Tupelo won the boys, 30 points, and girls, 24 points, team titles.
Oxford’s Tyler Barber covered the 3,200-meter course in 12:08 for the boys win. Tupelo’s Sabrina Huggins finished in 13:37 to win the girls race.
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