By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal
Mississippi College’s Choctaw Trails will once again host the MHSAA state cross-country meet on Saturday in Clinton.
The site has hosted the meet since it became a sanctioned sport in the state in 1978, and 2012 will see 12 races toeing the starting line between 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Northeast Mississippi will send its share of title contenders. Both Tupelo boys and girls squads are ranked No. 1 in the state entering the meet, with a total of six boys teams and five girls teams in their respective Top 10.
Class 6A: The Tupelo Lady Wave have won a state-best 11 straight state titles, and ended their regular season slate of meets running their best times of the season.
The Lady Wave are paced by freshman Christina Daniels, the defending Class 6A individual champion.
For the Tupelo boys, it has been three weeks since running their last invitational, time for some of their top runners to heal as the Wave limped through their final two meets. Tupelo has 10 state titles in the last 11 years.
Sophomore Andrew White has the state’s best recorded 5K time of the season in any class.
Class 5A: The Saltillo girls have successfully brought home the gold four consecutive seasons, and have run strong in 2012, as evidenced by a No. 4 ranking.
The area also boosts title contenders in No. 5 Starkville and No. 7 Oxford.
In 5A boys, No. 2 Saltillo has finished runner-up four straight years, but defeated No. 1 Tupelo in a meet three weeks ago. Tupelo is the only in-state school to beat Saltillo this season.
No. 7 Starkville and No. 8 Oxford should also be factors.
Class 4A: Pontotoc head coach Mike Bain looks to add to his amazing total of 32 cross country titles, with both his squads having won four in-a-row.
The No. 3 Pontotoc girls were posting the best times in the state for much of the season, with freshman Elizabeth Lunn as one of the 4A favorites.
Corinth’s Yvette Evans and Lafayette’s Peyton Hamann will challenge as well.
For the No. 6 Pontotoc boys, junior Brayden Timmons is a favorite for Individual honors.
Class 3A: In boys, No. 10 Kossuth is the top-ranked area team. Kossuth finished second a year ago.
In girls, No. 13 Mooreville is in title contention, with Kendra Sanders and Rachel Anderson after individual honors.
Class 2A: The No. 28 East Union girls are defending champs, but should have strong contention from No. 17 Hickory Flat and No. 18 New Site. Individually, New Site’s Sydney Presley is the defending champ.
In boys, No. 14 Hickory Flat and No. 18 Potts Camp will give the area a 2A presence.
Class 1A: Defending champion No. 20 Myrtle girls will again battle No. 23 West Union, with No. 27 TCPS in the running.
No. 38 Ingomar and No. 40 TCPS lead the area boys’ chances.
1, Tupelo. 2, Saltillo. 3, Ocean Springs. 4, St. Andrew’s. 5, St. Stanislaus.
6, Pontotoc. 7. Starkville. 8, Oxford. 9, Pearl. 10, Kossuth
1, Tupelo. 2, Madison Central. 3, Pontotoc. 4, Saltillo. 5, Starkville.
6, St. Patrick. 7, Oxford. 8, Brandon. 9, Ocean Springs. 10, Pearl.