CATEGORY: RUN Track & Field
HED:Pontotoc set for another run at state meet
By D.E. Wheeler
Ho hum, it is just another Class 3A state cross country meet Saturday for Pontotoc and head coach Mike Bain in Clinton at Mississippi College's Choctaw Trails.
Bain has been coaching distance runners at Pontotoc since 1978, and has won a total of 16 state titles between his boys and girls teams. So is Saturday just another state meet?
"It feels about the same as far as the girls are concerned," said Bain, whose girls are running for their fourth title in-a-row. "I think someone would have to really surprise me to beat them.
"But for the boys, it's kind of revenge with the boys getting beat last year. We really should not have gotten beat. I feel a little bit more intense this year as far as the boys are concerned."
If not for a four-point loss to Carthage last year, the Pontotoc boys would be running for a sixth straight 3A title Saturday. But on the bright side, senior Scott Whiteside is running for a fifth straight individual title, having won his first in the eighth grade.
"Obviously, it's been a good feeling knowing what is usually going to happen with Scott and being able to focus on the rest of the team," Bain said. "Our strategy Saturday is to let Scott do what he's going to, and let everyone else run off Clant (Harrison).
"We have a tremendous motivation to let Carthage know we're the better team."
Joining Whiteside and Harrison (sr.) for the boys will be T.J. Anderson (soph.), Michael Simon (sr.), Lee Hill (sr.), Benjamin Hill (8th) and Reed Caldwell (sr.).
While the Pontotoc boys look for revenge, the girls look to defend.
"I think we've got a really good number one runner, then the rest of our girls run real close, as a pack," Bain said. "If anybody challenges us, I look for it to be Forest."
Kirsten Hendricks (soph.) leads Pontotoc and looks to improve on her second place overall finish last year, with the rest of the state meet squad being Amanda Easterling (sr.), Tori Wood (fr.), Jessica Easterling (soph.), Lindsy Gregory (fr.), Robin Gregory (jr) and Ashley Wood (jr.).
The Pontotoc girls will run Saturday at 12:30 p.m., followed by the boys at 12:55 p.m.