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Brookhaven High cross country running fast to the finish line

The cross-country Panthers are running lean and fast this fall, heading into regional competition Wednesday to run a familiar course that yielded fast times and victories at a championship meet last week.

The Brookhaven High School Cross-Country Team will take on its Region 3-5A neighbors Wednesday at Choctaw Trails in Clinton, with the girls team starting its run at 3:15 p.m. and the boys team leaving the start line a half-hour later. BHS won the regional meet in 2015 and 2016, and head coach Kevin Bower says his runners are poised for a three-peat.

“We hope to do really well in the regional. The kids are all excited about running,” he said. “Our goal for this year is to continue moving up and progressing as a team.”

Bower and his teams have reason to be optimistic. Last Thursday the BHS varsity girls won first place and the varsity boys came in second after a series of eight 5K races at the Jackson Public Schools championship, held at the same Choctaw Trails site, operated by Mississippi College.

On the girls team, junior Miyah Miller had the fleetest feet, finishing the 3.1-mile run through the woods and fields at 21 minutes, 56 seconds. A trio of sophomores came next, with Gracie Gray finishing at 22 minutes, 48 seconds; Carley Craig at 22 minutes, 49 seconds; and Emmaline Wolfe at 22 minutes, 57 seconds. Junior Abby Roberts rounded out the top five with a run of 23 minutes, 38 seconds.

Bower said six of the 11 girls running for BHS set personal records.

On the boys side, Andrew Knott won first place among all contenders, finishing with a time of 16 minutes, 39 seconds. It was the senior’s fifth first-place finish of the season.

“Andrew has put in a lot of miles over the last few years, no matter how he feels or how the weather is,” Bower said of Knott, who is also a Boy Scout and president of the BHS Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “He always encourages everyone on our team, and he’s a great example of a disciplined student-athlete.”

Senior Adrian Lockwood was second place with a time of 17 minutes, 7 seconds. Seniors Darius Arnold and Caleb McCreary were next, with times of 18 minutes, 3 seconds and 17 minutes, 58 seconds, respectively.

Finishing the top five on the BHS boys team was an eight-grader: Grayson Childress, who just moved up to the varsity team, completed the course in 18 minutes, 22 seconds.

Six runners on the boys team set personal records.

The BHS boys finished second to Clinton, who they’ve beaten previously this season. They may see Clinton again, but not this week. Region foes Hattiesburg, Laurel, Natchez, North Pike and Wayne County await the Panthers Wednesday.

“We set a goal to be as competitive as we can in these races, to win regionals and move up in state,” Bower said.

The state finals will be held Monday, Nov. 6.