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BHS XC finishes 5A runner-up

The Brookhaven High Panther Cross Country teams finished as the runners-up in the MHSAA 5A State Championship on Saturday in Clinton at Choctaw Trails.

The Panthers were defending state champs and lost by one point to the Saltillo Tigers. The Lady Panthers finished in second place behind Saltillo for the second straight year.

“Our boys nearly ran a perfect race,” said Panther head coach Shannon Knott. “One of our guys had his legs go out on him and crawled to the line and showed a ton of heart and determination. Losing by one point was a tough pill to swallow, but we’ll be back faster and more determined next year.”

Freshman Grayson Childress led the Panther runners with a time of 17 minutes and 13 seconds which was good enough for third place in a field of 117 runners.

“I just try to keep my emotions in check,” said Childress. “I try to relax and breath because we have done so many hard workouts in training. Sometimes I might focus on the other teams, but in a competition this big you’ve got to run your own race.”

Childress was followed in fourth and fifth place by his teammates junior Jacob Britt (17:15) and freshman Sam Arnold (17:25). Freshman Jake Thompson (18:22), freshman Collin Kellum (19:36), Trace Brady (19:47), and junior Samuel Mabile (20:14).

In the girls’ race the Lady Panthers were trying to get the better of a Saltillo team that they had beaten during the season in a meet at Choctaw Trails.

On Saturday, though, the Lady Tigers ran the fastest team split of any girls’ team in any classification. With the win Saltillo claimed their fourth consecutive 5A girls’ state title.

“The girls didn’t run bad,” said Knott. “To beat Saltillo though it takes everyone running their best race on that day.”

Freshman Brooklyn Biancamano — the fastest female cross-country runner in the state — took the 5A championship in 18:10.

Senior Miyah Miller (20:57) was the top finisher for the Lady Panthers in sixth place. Junior Gracie Gray (21:09) finished in ninth place. Other Lady Panther runners included freshman Ellie Slay (21:39), junior Emmaline Wolfe (22:03), junior Carley Craig (22:03), junior Bailey Pounds (22:36), and senior Abby Roberts (23:53).

The season was a smashing success for the Lady Panthers as they took the top team spot in seven of the nine meets they entered this year, not including winning a fourth straight Region 3-5A championship.

The boys team captured six team titles this season and also won their region for a fourth straight year.

Story by Cliff Furr