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Oxford set for 5A cross-country state meet

Oxford has a chance for their second and third state championships in seven days.

The cross-country team will try its hand at winning a state title this Saturday as the Chargers will compete in the MHSAA Class 5A meet at Choctaw Trails in Jackson.

Last year, Oxford came up short in both the boys’ and girls’ races, finishing runner-up to Saltillo in each. The girls came up 14 points shy while the boys finished seven points behind the Tigers.

“It’s going to be a battle,” Oxford coach Chris Patton said. “It always is with (Saltillo). They know how we race, we know how they race. Just hoping we can be victorious on Saturday if we can put everything in place.”

This year looks to be shaping up yet again as a battle between Oxford and Saltillo, which is good news for the Chargers as they got a good look at what they will have to do on Saturday in last week’s Region 1-5A meet at Saltillo. The boys claimed the region championship while the girls finished second. The familiarity can be a positive even though each race, and course, is different

“I learn a little bit from week-to-week but from different runners,” Patton said. “I think they learn about themselves as well. The good thing about it is that you figure out how hard to run where, when to back off. So basically every single race has been a practice. The only race that matters is the last one.”

Patton is counting on Kyle Rock, Jonathan Tyler and John Owen Yoste as the anchor on the boys’ team to try and bring home a championship. The experience of Swayze Elliott and Addie Thompson will be a key for a girls’ win as well as a clean sweep on Saturday.

The girls’ race will begin at 11 a.m. with the boys’ race following at 11:30.