By Jonathan Wise
The Pontotoc cross country program produced yet another great day Saturday at the South Pontotoc Invite, with both varsity squads edging out one of their top competitors in Class 4A-Corinth. The boys finished first overall, while the girls were second overall and first in 4A. The junior high girls also finished first, and the junior high boys were second.
The top seven varsity girls were Elizabeth Lunn (6th-16:36), Katy McAuley (12th), Locke Hester (13th), Robin Shumaker (16th), Ashton Davis (17th), Abby Tidwell (19th) and Claire Garner (24th).
“Elizabeth has been our number one runner all season and raced well Saturday,” said head coach Mike Bain. “It was great to see Katy have a great race and run closer to where I know she ought to be.
“We have seven girls who I know can run in the 16’s at state, and it looks like that is what it is going to take to have a shot at them winning their fifth state championship in a row. “I think it will come down to us, Corinth or Lafayette. 4A girls teams are pretty strong in the North this year.”
Chris Grisham ran a 17:15 and was the number one finisher overall in the boys race, with the Warriors placing five runners in the top 10. Grisham, Jacob Ferguson and Nathan Tidwell went one, two and three for the boys, with Grayson Griffith fifth and Will Dauler 10th. Sal Aydha and Wesley Fuqua were also in the Warrior top seven.
“Our guys are coming together at the right time, and Chris has raced well the last few meets as our number one runner,” Bain said. “Our top four have raced close together all season and Will has come on to race closer to that pack. Sal had his best race of the season and is really working to try to make a difference at state.”
The top seven junior high runners were Rossie Beth Robinson, Payten Wright, Taylor Norris, Lindsey Anderson, Maddie McGregor, Kirklyn Finney and Clara Wilder. The Lady Warriors placed three runners in the top five and six in the top 20 to finish 1st in the meet.
“I was very proud of these girls Saturday,” Bain said. “We have been working on racing and not just running, and these girls are starting to push themselves in meets. There is some physical talent in these girls and they are starting to figure the mental part out.”
The top seven junior high boys were Eli Stallings, Mitchell Cook, Evan McCutchen, Gabe Henry, Ben Russell, Drake Merritt and Cameron Haley. The top five all finished in the top 20. “Eli had a great race Saturday, and our two, three and four runners are all 7th graders who have gotten better in every meet.
“It has been fun watching these guys this season, and I am looking forward to watching them compete at Corinth next Saturday.”
The last regular season meet for the Warrior teams is Saturday at Corinth. The Region Championship will be hosted by Pontotoc on October 31st at Trace State Park starting at 4:00. The State Championship is November 9th at Choctaw Trails with the Lady Warriors running at 10:00 and the Warriors at 10:30.