The Wildcats won the boys meet with 27 points, while the Lady Wildcats won the girls meet with 15 points. The Wildcats finished ahead of Greenwood (52 pts.) and Gentry (53 pts.). The Lady Wildcats virtually ran uncontested.
Cleveland High head cross country coach Johnna Harris said both of her teams have shown great improvement.
“Everybody boys and girls dropped their times and that was a plus,” Harris said. “The junior high boys were able to place themselves for our guys to win. We still have a long way to go, but these kids are improving consistently. They go five to six every morning, and they work.”
In the boys division, Trace Edwards led the way for the Wildcats as he finished second overall with a time of 19:44.52, finishing just 10.10 seconds behind individual winner Brandon McCall (19:34.42) of Greenwood High School. Cleveland’s Jordan Williams (21:26.10) finished right behind Edwards in third place. JJ Rubio (22:53.04, 6th), Stephen Raines (23:09.63, 7th) and Justin Pinkton (24:16.11) rounded out the Wildcats’ performers in the top 10.
“We had a tremendous showing Wednesday compared to what they’ve been doing,” Harris said about the boys. “There were many runners for the boys that were a huge factor. They just really came together as a team.”
In the girls’ race, Hallee Pinkerton turned in a solid performance as she finished first with a time of 18:04.02 to finish ahead of Gentry’s Kierra Gardner, who took second with a time of 19:37.03.
Harris said she is proud of the way Pinkerton has grown as a competitor in cross country.
“We’re going to see more of Hallee Pinkerton,” Harris said. “She went down to 18 minutes. She swims, runs and plays soccer. Hallee ran a time of 21 minutes earlier in the year and she’s dropped her time down to 18:04, which is phenomenal.”
Other Cleveland runners turned in some other strong times. Sayre Weast took third (19:59.04), Katherine Jackson finished fourth (22:41.28), Elizabeth Kulick place fifth (23:14.01), Salma Cordero took home sixth (23:51), Maya Anderson finished seventh (23:52.72) and Shatari Hall placed eighth (25:01.36) to help aid a CHS team that had 20 runners compete in the event.
Cleveland High will compete in the 4A State Meet at Choctaw Trails on the campus of Mississippi College in Clinton on Nov. 9.