Special to the Journal
PONTOTOC – About 1,200 runners got to pick the fruit of a fast course Saturday at the Pontotoc Invitational.
Among the sweetest of the four varsity races at Cherry Creek Orchard was in the 4A-6A girls, where the Tupelo Lady Wave dominated, even without their top runner.
Tupelo scored 39 points led by Mika Takahashi’s second-place finish over a 4K course. That was good enough to outdistance a deep field that included Class 6A challenger Madison Central in second at 72, defending 4A champ Pontotoc in third at 92, Corinth at 105, and defending 5A champ Saltillo at 128.
“It was a nice day for running, and we needed some people to step up, and they did,” Lady Wave head coach Anna Sloan said. “You never know how you’re going to respond when you lose your best runner.”
Her team was without Christina Daniels, who is currently sidelined with an injury.
Madison Central’s Rebecca Buteau won the race at 14 minute, 36 seconds, Takahashi came in at 15:22, Rachel Starnes from Lafayette was third in 15:23, Emma Knight from Corinth was fourth at 15:24, and Swayze Elliot from Oxford was fifth at 15:25. Tupelo had four runners in the top 10 of the event.
The Golden Wave boys scored 30 points to win their race.
Individually, Andrew White of Tupelo ran away from the field over a 5K course for a 16:17, with Darnell Collier of Tupelo second in 16:31.
In the 1A-3A girls, Myrtle edged the field with a 56 score, followed by New Site at 59.
“I really thought we would do well today,” Myrtle head coach Chris Greer said. “We ran better today than all last year.”
Kendra Sanders of Mooreville won the 1A-3A girls race in 15:21, with Marquez Howell of Myrtle winning the boys race in 17:19. Kossuth won the boys team title with 41 points.