Curt Knight fell short of his goal. Even so, he easily repeated as AAA individual champion Monday at the MAIS state cross country meet.
“I wanted to do sub 16 minutes,” the Jackson Academy junior said after covering the 5,000 meter Choctaw Trails course in 16:15.70. “It was a little bit hotter than I thought it would be,” he said of muggy temperatures in the low 70s at race time.
As has been the case in most of his races this year, Knight was far ahead of the pack throughout the race, finishing more than a minute and a half ahead of runnerup John Michael Gory of Presbyterian Christian.
In the AAA girls race, Presbyterian freshman Ramsay Strayer finished first for the second time in 12:36.96 for two miles. 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.
Jackson Prep boys and Presbyterian girls were the AAA team winners. Prep, with three runners in the top five, finished with 37 points to 48 for runner-up Presbyterian.
“Presbyterian Christian is awfully tough,” Prep coach Malcolm Saxon said. “But we got out fast.”
The Presbyterian girls had five top 10 runners to finish with 28 points to 38 for Jackson Academy.
Team titles in AA went to Silliman boys, with 37 points to 89 for runnerup Kirk, and Canton Academy girls with 37 points to 70 for Silliman.
In the boys race, Silliman teammates Denver Pierce and Tommy Arnett finished first and second. Morgan Rose won the girls race, finishing less than eight seconds ahead of Canton Academy’s Ava Dickerson.
Chamberlain-Hunt won the A boys title and Desoto School the girls championship. Individual winners were Sam Gearhart of Mt. Salus for the boys and Lauren Hunter of Desoto for the girls.
Chamberlain-Hunt boys finished ahead of Mt. Salus. Desoto edged Lamar Christian for the girls title.