Another year, another championship for the Presbyterian Christian girls, who ran off with their seventh consecutive MAIS State cross country championship Monday at Choctaw Trails.
The PCS girls finished with 28 points to 38 for Jackson Academy. Sophomore Ramsey Stayer led the way for the Lady Bobcats, winning the Class AAA girls race for the second time in three years.
“The kids did a good job,” said PCS coach Wayne Williams. “We had five of the top nine finishers and six of the top 11. I was thrilled to see that.
“All through the season, we’d been struggling a bit, because four of our top runners were also playing soccer, so there were meets where we didn’t have our full team.”
Stayer covered the two-mile girls course in 12 minutes, 36.96 seconds. She won as an eighth grader, but finished third last year.
“I just psyched myself out before the state race,” she said of last year’s competition. “I died after the first mile. This year I had more of a competitive mindset.”
Stayer took the lead from the start and never relinquished it.
“At the mile mark, I heard someone breathing hard behind me. I looked back and realized I had to go so I just booted it up that hill.”
That someone was Erin Hederman of Jackson Academy, who finished second, 26.14 seconds behind Stayer.
Stayer was followed across the finish line by teammates Jillian Rhian in fourth place, Margaret Campbell sixth, Grace Jennings eighth and Caroline Kuyrkendal ninth.
Jackson Prep was the AAA boys team winners. Prep, with three runners in the top five, finished with 37 points to 48 for runner-up PCS. Columbia Academy was third with 69 points.
Curt Knight of Jackson Academy ran away with the AAA boys race, covering the 5K boys course in 16:15.70, more than a minute and a half ahead of John Michael Gory of PCS, who finished in 17:49.79.
PCS had two other runners in the top 10, Alex Jones was seventhe and Matthew Futrell was eighth.
The Bobcats’ point total might have been better, but one of their top runners, Trace Walters, was still recovering from emergency surgery to remove his appendix three weeks ago and finished 19th.
After years of dominating the AA race, Columbia Academy made a respectable showing in Class AAA. Michael Reid finished 10th to lead four Cougar runners into the top 15.
In Class A, the Lamar Christian girls finished second, with 43 points, just three points behind state champion Desoto (Ark.).
The Lady Lions had three runners finishing the top 10, led by Laura Chatham, who was sixth. Rachel Engle was seventh and Madeline Browning was 10th for LCS.
Lamar Christian also had a top 10 finisher in the A boys race, with Tristan Buckhalter finishing seventh. The LCS boys were fifth in the team standings.
The Jackson Clarion-Ledger contributed to this report.