The Kosciusko boys and girls cross country teams have qualified for the Mississippi High School Activities Association 4A cross country meet. The race will be held Monday at the Choctaw Trails course in Jackson.
“We feel pretty good,” said coach Greg Cooper. “There is going to be a lot of good competition. I see it being a good race, being a quick race.”
He noted a favorable weather forecast with temperatures around 60, close to ideal for distance running. “We should see some good times.”
Due to the pandemic, MHSAA is limiting the number of runners this year, with qualifying based upon performance during the season. Seventeen boys teams and sixteen girls teams qualified for the race.
The 4A girls race is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start, followed by the boys race at 1:30 p.m. The 6A and 2A meets will also be held Monday; 1A. 3A and 5A events are Saturday.
The Kosciusko girls were 10th and the boys 17th last year. Corinth is defending champion for boys and girls and both teams have qualified for this year's meet.
Kosciusko participated in two meets last week, Region 4-4A at Choctaw Trails and the Bobcat Invitational at Sebastopol. At the region meet, the Whippets finished third and the Lady Whippets fifth.
The Choctaw Trails course has changed this year and Cooper said competing there in the region meet is a plus. “It gives them an understanding of where they can push, where they need to hold back, what is difficult about it and where they will find their opportunities.”
Jon Gant was Kosciusko's top boy at the region meet, finishing fourth with a time of 19:21.38 for 5,000 meters. Gustavo Orduna was sixth (19:31.11), Jorge Orduna 10th (19:43.94). Cole Wilson 26th (22:16.06) and Lem Whitcomb 32nd (23:19.21).
The girls were led by Reid Hutchinson with an eighth place finish in 24:33.42. Macie Alford was 18th (27:14.29), Savannah Fulgham 22nd (29:14:30), Emma Rhodes 23rd (29:20.02) and Lorelai Bell 33rd (33:44.96).
At the Sebastopol meet, the boys and girls teams both finished second behind Neshoba Central, a 5A school. Gustavo Orduna was the boys winner with a time of 16:47.6. Gant was fourth in 16:57.2.
The meet was supposed to be 5,000 meters, but Cooper received an email that there was a discrepancy. He was not told how long it actually was, but the times showed that it was short of 5,000.
“When he (Gustavo Orduna) got done he looked at me and said coach I feel like we only did two and a half miles. I said you may have. I told him at the end of the day you were the first runner to cross the finish line. So whatever you did you beat everybody else.”
Hutchinson finished third in the girls race in 23:08.4. Rhodes was sixth (23:59.5) and Alford eighth (24:36.4).