Tupelo teams fall short in state title races

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

CLINTON – Tupelo’s domination has ended in cross country.
For the first time since 2001, someone other than the Lady Wave and Golden Wave took home the state championship trophies in high school cross country.
The Lady Wave saw its 11-year win streak snapped Saturday with a third-place finish to Ocean Springs and Madison Central in the MHSAA Class 6A Cross Country Championships at Mississippi College’s Choctaw Trails.
“The streak has ended,” Lady Wave coach Anna Sloan said. “The monkey’s off our back. The streak was a source of pride and a source of stress.
“Our girls tried their best. That’s all you can ask.”
Ocean Springs finished with 36 points, Madison Central 59 and Tupelo 66.
For the Lady Wave, defending individual 6A state champion, Christina Daniels, finished second in 15 minutes, 12 seconds. Madison Central’s Rebecca Buteau was the winner in 15:04.
Callie Watson was 11th overall in 16:11 for Tupelo. The top 14 runners earn all-state recognition from the MHSAA.
“We’ve lost a good group of seniors, but we’ve got some good, young runners,” Sloan said. “We’re coming back to win it next year.”
JUST MISSED
Tupelo’s boys just missed winning their 11th state championship in 12 seasons, falling by one point to Oceans Springs, 38-39.
“You don’t expect to score 39 and lose the meet,” Tupelo coach Jonathan Begnaud said. “It shows you how well we ran.”
Darnell Collier led the Wave with a third-place finish in 16:46. Andrew White, 17:20; Jordan McKay, 17:37; Corey Batson 17:56 and Michael Robinson, 17:59, all had top 14 finishes.
White, who came in with the state’s best times, ran for the second consective season with an injury – shin splints.
“He would love to be healthy, 100 percent, for this,” Begnaud said.
The coach was pleased with his team’s showing and effort. Ocean Springs had a larger lead early in the race.
“We did a good job toward the end,” Begnaud said. “We made up some points to close the gap. Ocean Springs ran fantastic.”
Oak Grove’s William Murphy won the state title in 16:28.
gene.phelps@journalinc.com