XC boys bring home the gold

The cross country team reached the end of their season on October 20th, with the MAIS state meet held at Choctaw Trails. The varsity boys took home the gold by winning the championship with a total of 27 points. Preston Speed came in first overall with a time of 17:05 in the 5k. The top ten finishers were: Charlie Hight 4th, Alex Roberson 6th, Graham Speed 7th, and Evans Reynolds 9th.

Charlie Hight remarked with ending the season on a high note, “Seeing all the work we put in finally paid off was amazing. It was great for the coaches and the runners to win the state after losing the past couple of years.

The team had a new assistant coach this year by the name of Kelsey Shumate. The other assistant coach was Jordan Pritchard, and both assistant coaches have helped run practices with head coach Daniel Burnett.

Earlier in the season, the varsity boys’ and girls’ along with the junior varsity boys’ and girls’ teams got first place in the Cathedral two mile race.

At the Prep invitational, which is the third year that Prep has hosted a cross country meet, both the varsity boys’ and girls’ teams won the meet.

At the PCS invita-tional meet, which took place on a blueberry farm, varsity boys and girls got first place in the meet.

Following the PCS meet, the top seven for both the varsity boys’and girls’ teams, totalling fourteen runners, went to Ocean Springs to run in the high school invitational. This wasthefirsttimethatthe team was able to run in this meet, and the varsity girls got first place. The varsity boys got second place, and the team spent the night before the race in a hotel.

The Watson meet followed the Ocean Springs meet, where the girls’ varsity got second place in the meet. This was the largest meet of the year, and it was the first time that the Jackson Prep Cross Country team was able to run on the updated Choctaw Trails. Both Preston Speed and Julia Stradinger achieved their personal best times at this meet. Preston had a time of 16:37, and Julia had a time of 18:50. Julia Stradinger was undefeated the entire season.

The varsity girls team came in as runner-up with a close finish of 30 points. Julia Stradinger got 1st place with Gracie Atkinson 4th, Kimmons Sheppard 5th, and Olivia Smith 9th.

Kimmons Sheppard commented, “It was frustrating getting second, but I think everyone tried their best, and we’ll have a better winning mindset for next season!”

Overall the Patriots had a spectacular cross country season by start- ing strong with a 2-mile warmup race and all four teams placing 1st. The Varsity team was undefeated for the Prep and Purvis invitational, while both placed well at the Ocean Springs and Waston invitational leading up to the state. Head Cross Country coach Daniel Burnett said that the team made his firstyearmemorableandis proud of everyone’s efforts at state.

After finishing their high school XC career, Camp Carter, Alex Roberson, Graham Speed, Preston Speed, Lauren Anne Smith, and Ty Usey continued the cross country senior tradition of jumping in the Choctaw Trails pond. Looking back at a successful senior season, Graham Speed said, “I am very happy with our team’s performance. It’s great to finish my senior season with a state championship.”