By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
SALTILLO – The area high school cross country schedule continued at a fast pace Saturday at the Saltillo Invitational.
Also continuing a fast pace were Tupelo runners Andrew White and Christina Daniels, who won their third races of the season.
“The winning times were fast,” said Saltillo head coach Charles Covington, the meet host on the campus of Saltillo High School. “All the times were fast.”
White, a sophomore, clocked his fastest 5K with a 16 minutes, 13 seconds time to help the Tupelo boys squad to a dominating performance in the Class 4A/5A/6A event, the big school race.
As a team, Tupelo came close to a perfect score with 21 points. Pontotoc was second with 48, Oxford third with 81, Saltillo fourth at 111, and Corinth fifth at 133.
“I’m super happy with the times, and everybody on the team is improving,” Tupelo head coach Jonathan Begnaud said. “That was a big PR for White.
“His best had been a 16:32 at Memphis two weeks ago. That was a big step up for him.”
White had company from his teammates, as Garrett Rogers was second in 16:43, and Darnell Collier was third in 17:03. Rounding out Tupelo runners scoring points was Josh Lazore in seventh and Michael Paul Robinson in eighth.
In the big-school girls event, Pontotoc claimed its second area win in as many weeks, scoring 46 points.
Tupelo fell to second again with 53, Saltillo was a competitive third with 64, Oxford was fourth with 83, and Corinth was fifth with 153.
“Our team stepped up and took third,” Covington said. “We competed better this time with Pontotoc and Tupelo, and we’re rounding into shape.”
Daniels, a freshman, toured the 4K layout in her fastest effort of the season in 15:47.
A pair of Saltillo runners rounded out the top three with Claire Cash at 16:14 and Alyssa Kelley in 16:17. Katy McCauley’s fifth place finish led Pontotoc, which place four of its runners in the top 10 to aid its team victory.
In the Class 1A/2A/3A race, a pair of Kossuth runners finished 1-2 with Kyle Suitor clocking a 16:52 and Conner Martin in 17:01. French Camp took team honors with 49 points, with Hatton (Ala) second with 76, and Kossuth third with 89.
In the small school girls, Page Rowland of Ripley won with a 16:54, and Savannah Shirley of West Union second in 17:06. Kossuth won the team title with 82 points, East Union second with 100, and Myrtle third with 103.
Next event in the area is the Tupelo Invitational at Ballard Park on Saturday.
In other action
The Starkville boys and Madison Central girls were winners at Saturday’s Bulldog Cross Country Invitational at Mississippi State.
Starkville’s Joseph MacGown (16:42.78) was second in a field of 120 in the 5-kilometer race and four of his teammates finished in the top 13. Travis Jordan of Poplarville won in 16:34.81.
In the girls 4-kilometer race, Starkville’s Kate Mattox won in 15:34.40. Madison Central won the team title with five runners in the top nine.