Local XC runners led by Loyd Star’s Montgomery

Published 1:00 pm Saturday, November 4, 2023

A year ago, at Choctaw Trails in south Jackson, Gauge Montgomery of Loyd Star finished second overall at the MHSAA 2A Cross-Country Championship.

A fire was lit under Montgomery that day as he made the decision to start working immediately in order to move up one spot in 2023.

On Thursday, Montgomery saw his year worth of work pay off as he ran the 5K course in 17 minutes, nine seconds to capture first place in the 2023 2A state championship meet.

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A junior, Montgomery beat senior Payden Taylor of New Site who finished in a time of 17:15. Freshman William Skelton of St. Andrew’s was the third placed finisher at 17:21.

Last week, Montgomery ran a then personal best time of 17:20 to finish first at the regional level for Loyd Star coach Russell Cruise. Last year he ran a 17:24 to finish second at the state meet.

Montgomery started this season with a first-place finish at the Ole Brook Invitational held at the Hansel King Sports Complex.

As the season progressed, Montgomery balanced the demands of being a student and an athlete and then he went out and got a job working at Little Caesars.

When school let out and he had to report for work, he was still able to get his miles in despite missing practices.

“Gauge’s times had started to drop a little and he was definitely busier than ever before, but his mom bought a treadmill and he’s run on it when he got home from work,” said Cruise. “From running 40-50 miles a week in the summer to then running on a treadmill at night, he’s been motived ever since he finished second last year. He’s still got goals he wants to accomplish next year too. Gauge will be the first to tell you he wants to go under the 17-minute mark before he’s done running at Loyd Star.”

As a team, the Loyd Star boys finished fifth overall. St. Andrw’s won the team competition with East Union and Eupora finishing in second and third place respectively.

Junior Hayden Skates of West Lincoln was the 13th placed finisher in a field that was made up of 85 runners.

Eighth-grader Carson Sellers of Loyd Star had a top-20 finish by coming in 16th with a time of 19:27.

“Carson Sellers has set a new personal best in our last four races,” said Cruise. “Once he got a sub-20-minute time, he’s just kept improving with each run.”

Other area finishers with their place and time include Loyd star sophomore Cooper Creel (26, 20:46), West Lincoln eighth-grader Jacob Jones (20:48), West Lincoln freshman Maddux Johnson (36, 21:30), West Lincoln eighth-grader Brody Leggett (43, 21:52), Loyd Star sophomore Jamisyn Kelly (53, 22:41), Loyd Star freshman Parker Satterfield (61, 23:41), Loyd Star seventh-grader Memphis Falvey (69, 26:03), West Lincoln eighth-grader Elijah Legget (71, 26:36), Loyd Star eighth-grader James Smith (73, 26:52), West Lincoln eighth-grader Mason McCarty (76, 27:00) and West Lincoln eighth-grader Liam Thacker (80, 28:56).

“Every guy that ran for us had a personal or season best,” said Cruise. “Cooper Creel and Parker Satterfield split time with us and the football team and still put in their miles every week. I’m thankful for having such a great group of parents that have gone above and beyond all season.”

Class 2A Girls Meet

West Lincoln sophomore Chloe Sterling was the first finisher for the Bears as her time of 24:11. That earned Sterling, who won the region championship last week for coach Jay Case, a 22nd place finish in a field of 67 runners. Her finish helped spur the Bears to a fourth overall finish in a team competition where nine schools were represented.

Other competitors for West Lincoln with their place and time include junior Kylie Suchy (32, 26:26), sophomore Ryleigh Purdy (22, 26:32), senior Alaina Mathis (36, 26:50), freshman Lexi Furr (41, 28:11) and freshman Ava Leake (61, 31:01).

Sophomore India Mithcell of St. Andrw’s won the overall race with a time of 20:02. Just like in the boys’ competition, the final standings in the team standings were St. Andrew’s in first place with East Union and Eupora finishing in second and third place respectively.

Class 3A Boys Meet

Senior Jack Hewes of Saint Patrick Catholic ran the best time of the day to win the 3A boys’ competition with a finish in 16:02. Saint Patrick captured the first four places in the race to win the team competition as they were followed by second place Alcorn Central and third place Mooreville.

Wesson and coach Vance Windom finished seventh out of 14 teams in the 3A competition.

There were 99 runners in the race and the first finisher for Wesson was senior Preston Selman in 23rd place with a time of 19:16.

Other runners for Wesson with their place and time included senior Aidan Brice (30, 20:08), eighth-grader Grady Smith (48, 21:16), sophomore Brendon Duguid (54, 21:44), seventh-grader Walker Breazeale (61, 22:19) and eighth-grader Slade Oberschmidt (88, 24:40).

Class 3A Girls Meet

Eighth-grader Emily Avent of East Webster won the 3A girls’ race with a time of 20:27. The team portion of the event was won by Kossuth High. Saint Patrick came in second and Alcorn Central finished third.

Wesson finished fifth as a team in a field of 12 schools.

Seventh-grader Kennedi Johnson was the first Cobra across the line with a time of 23:51, which put her in 22nd place. 88 total competitors ran in the race. Eighth-grader Eden Hall finished in 24th place for Wesson with a time of 24:09.

Other runners for Wesson with their place and time included junior Ella Logan (39, 25:33), sophomore Macy Loy (45, 26:57), seventh-grader Jayden Allen (48, 27:14), junior Courtney Carr (59, 28:32) and freshman Bently Roberson (63, 28:48).