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BLOG: Oxford cross-country aims for third straight state title

Monday morning, the Oxford cross-country teams look to bring back some more hardware to an athletic program that is not short on trophies.

The MHSAA Class 5A state meet will be held at the Mississippi College Choctaw Trails in Clinton, and the Chargers are hoping to make it a three-peat while the Lady Chargers are wanting to erase last year’s crushing denial of a state title.

“I feel very confident, and they do as well,” Oxford coach Chris Patton said. “We’ve been training pretty hard since June, and throughout the season the girls and the guys, they’ve made a huge progression in their training and in the way that they race.”

The Chargers will look to Jonathan Tyler, Alex Thomas, John Owen Yoste and Will Farmer to carry over their dominant performances from last week’s Region 1-5A meet in Saltillo over to Monday in Clinton.

All four finished in the top 10 of the boys race with Tyler, Thomas, Yoste and Farmer finishing second, fifth, seventh and 10th, respectively.

If the Chargers want to earn their third state title in as many years, they will have to battle against fellow region foe Saltillo, who earned first place in last week’s region meet.

With the knowledge that the biggest competition that stands in their way of the state title comes from one team, it makes it easier for the runners to keep an eye on who they need to stay ahead of.

“Knowing that it’s going to come down to us and Saltillo in our mind, the strategy is to beat the Saltillo person next to you,” Patton said. “It makes it a lot easier. That’s a good thing about running a regional against them. It’s really the first half of the state championship. We get to see them and see how they race.”

Erasing disappointment

After losing the state title to Pearl last season by one point, the Lady Chargers are out for redemption. They are a young team but one that is hungry and has enough talent to compete for a championship.

“They have that bad taste in their mouth,” Patton said of the girls’ finish from last year. “Since then, they’ve been focused on getting back to there and having a different outcome this year.”

Addie Thompson will look to repeat her regional meet performance with another first-place finish along with teammates Margaret Adams, Katelyn Rock and Ally Shinall. All four had top-10 finishes in the regional meet where the Lady Chargers placed second behind host Saltillo.

The 5A girls meet is at 11 a.m. followed by the boys meet at 11:30. The awards ceremony will take place at 12:35 p.m.