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CHASING ROSE: Oxford’s Rose win 6A boys cross country title; Chargers finish second

JACKSON — It may be Chase Rose’s first name, but “chase” was also what the rest of the field was doing in Monday’s MHSAA Class 6A state cross country meet.

As he has done all season, Rose dominated Monday’s race at Choctaw Trails, winning by an impressive 25 seconds over D’Iberville’s Kevin Cooley. The Oxford senior’s official time was 15 minutes and 51.59 seconds.

Throughout the 5K race, Rose was never threatened and seemed to extend his lead as the race deepened. Knowing it was his final high school meet, Rose kicked it into another gear on the final stretch, putting an exclamation mark on his final season.

“Being on the Oxford team this year, it really helped me out a lot,” Rose said. “I was just trying to maintain a steady pace the whole. Just push it, because I knew this was going to be my last high school race.”

Rose transferred to Oxford this year from Kirk Academy in Grenada.

The Chargers used Rose’s finish to help propel them to a second place finish overall in the team standings with 92 points. Pearl claimed the boys’ 6A title with 59 points.

The top 14 finishers also earned All-State honors. Along with Rose, Oxford’s Luke Johnson (third place) and Ethan Knight (11th place) all earned the distinction.

Aiden Addy finished in 29th place, Tamon Matsumara finished in 51st place and Austin Brooks finished in 66th place to round out Oxford’s runners. The Chargers were without one of their best runners on Monday, which hurt their chances at a state championship.

“I can’t say that that wasn’t a big key today, but it’s next man up,” Oxford head coach Chris Patton said of being down a runner. “Having the other guys step up bodes well for the future. … Everybody knew what Chase was going to do. The key was four and five (runners). That’s the key in cross country. We knew how one, two, three was going to come through, but the key is four and five and those guys stepped up. They left it all out there on the line and that’s all you can ask for as a coach.”

The Lady Chargers competed first on Monday, finishing sixth in the overall stands for the girls’ 6A meet with 209 points. Pearl swept the meets with the Lady Pirates besting Hernando by seven points with 49 to claim the girls’ title.

Sparkle Caldwell was Oxford’s top finisher in the girls’ race, coming in 24th. Addie Grafton finished in 36th place, Liana Logan finished in 43rd, Georgia Wittington finished in 56th place, Peyton Tulchinksy finished in 62nd place, Ada Grace Perry finished in 77th place and Madeleine Gaia finished in 82nd place.

It was a tough finish to the season for Oxford’s girls’ team. They were forced to quarantine for two weeks late in the season, which kept them from practicing and training as much as they normally would have ahead of a state meet.

“The girls did great,” Patton said. “We had those two weeks off and not training really hurt them a lot. But, they came back and had a great attitude and a great work ethic and we built up on that. They’re young, we had one senior that ran this year. They’ll be back and they’ll be stronger.”

Lady ‘Dores Take Second

On Saturday, the Class 5A state meet was held at Choctaw Trails and the Lafayette girls team finished the season on a high note.

The Lady Commodores recorded 54 points to come in second place behind Saltillo’s 22 points. They had three runners earn All-State Honors, led by Mia Dawson.

Dawson finished in 5th place while Maine Lund and Caroline Wilson finished in eighth and 10th places, respectively. Other results for Lafayette included Collyn Lewis coming in 16th place, Delia Shackelford coming in 19th place, Valerie Smith coming in 32nd place and Ella Shelton coming in 39th place.

In the boys’ race, Lafayette finished in fifth place with 145 points. Brookhaven won the boys’ title with 29 points.

Bralen Williamson was the Commodores’ top finisher, coming in 17th place followed by Watson Williamson in 26th place. Lisandro Escobedo finished in 31st place, Issac Dalira-Reyes finished in 32nd place, Adin Droubay finished in 43rd place, Bryson Beltran finished in 62nd place and James Browning finished in 67th place to round out Lafayette’s runners.