• 72°

Panthers are 5A state XC champions; Lady Panthers finish runners-up

The countless miles through the streets of downtown paid off Monday for the Brookhaven High cross-country program.

After finishing runners-up last year in dramatic fashion to Saltillo, the Panthers got their measure of revenge Monday with a championship showing in the MHSAA 5A State Meet at Choctaw Trails in Jackson. The Lady Panthers finished second in their race as they took runners-up on the podium to Saltillo for a third straight year.

Sophomore Grayson Childress finished second overall with a time of 16 minutes and 49 seconds to lead the Ole Brook runners. Senior Jacob Britt followed in third place (16:56) for BHS. Sophomore Sam Arnold (17:05) was the fourth-place finisher and his sophomore teammate Jake Thompson (17:28) finished in sixth place. Freshman X’Zavion Stewart (17:52) finished in 10th place in his first state championship meet. Sophomore Trey Knott (18:23) finished in 15th place fellow BHS sophomore Collin Kellum (19:46) was the 31st place finisher.

Junior Christian Balcer of East Central won first place overall with a time of 15:50. A year after losing to Saltillo by one point the Panthers were dominate in putting five runners in the top 10.

The girls’ race was won by Brooklyn Biancamano of Long Beach — one of the fastest female runners in state history — with a time of 18:33.

Brookhaven High school senior Bailey Pounds led the Lady Panthers with a time of 21:26 that earned her fifth place. Sophomore Ellie Slay (22:08) finished in 11th place. Senior Emmaline Wolfe (22:20) of BHS was the 14th place finisher and was followed by her senior teammate Carley Craig (22:30) in 15th place. Freshman Ramie Stovall (22:36) grabbed 17th place for BHS in her first state meet. The freshmen duo of Lily Gray (22:42) and Quinn Boerner (22:44) finished in 19th and 21st place respectively.

“The girls didn’t let the pressure get to them,” said Knott. “It felt like that happened to us last year in this meet, but today everyone ran well, and we gave it everything we had. Saltillo has a very good team.”

It’s the second 5A title for BHS in the last three years on the boy’s side.

The Panthers came into the meet as the top ranked team in the state, regardless of classification. Ole Brook coach Shannon Knott said his team was focused on running up to their capabilities.

“Coming in, we felt like it was our race to lose,” said Knott. “We just didn’t want to do anything stupid and cost ourselves. The guys took care of business. We’ve run faster during the season on the same course, but today we were very consistent across the board.”