Special to the Journal
In what is becoming the meet that begins the season for most area running schools, Tupelo Christian Prep will be hosting its annual invitational cross country meet today on the TCPS campus in Belden.
“The course is challenging, and I think this is a great event,” TCPS cross country coach Lynn Holland said. “We have moved the meet to the morning to change some things up.”
Held in the afternoon in previous years , the meet will begin at 9 a.m. today with at least 15 schools participating.
The order of events begins with the varsity girls race, then the varsity boys race, then junior high girls and boys races. Holland had originally planned to run separate large and small school races, but in a concession to the potential heat, there will be only on girls race and only one boys race.
Event winners will still be scored based on small school (1A-3A) and large school (4A-6A).
Today’s events will feature five defending state champions. In boys, Hickory Flat in Class 1A and Pontotoc in 4A, and in girls, Myrtle in 1A, New Site in 2A, and Pontotoc in 4A will compete.
Other teams expected to compete include Amory, Itawamba AHS, Kosciusko, Mantachie, Mooreville, Northeast Lauderdale, Potts Camp, Senatobia, South Pontotoc, Tishomingo County, Water Valley, and East Union.
The state cross country meet is scheduled for. Nov. 8 in Clinton.
TCPS runners finished third on the girls side by one point in last year’s state meet, and the boys finished fourth.
“I don’t want to come from the State Meet without a first or second place this year,” said Holland, whose girls team won the 1A title in 2012. “The core of that girls group is still on the team.”
The TCPS girls appear poised to challenge for a 1A title this season, and for the next few seasons. Sophomore Emma Woolhouse, and freshmen Madison Laney, Abby Hamby, and Rebecca Talton are part of that returning core, with Camille Blaylock and Hannah Rogers expected to contribute this season.
For the TCPS boys, Holland is looking to junior Ryan Warnick, and sophomores B. J. Simmons and Luke Williams for leadership.