Starkville High School hosts cross country invitational

Eli Cappleman, right, runs for the Starkville High School cross country team.

Staff Writer

High school cross country returns to the area of the Mississippi Horse Park in Starkville Saturday.

The Starkville High School Yellow Jackets host the Starkville Cross Country Invitational and after a few years absence, the event will take place at the Mississippi Horse Park.

A road was constructed at the site of the old cross country course, so the Jackets worked with Bricklee Miller for another opportunity to hold races at the Mississippi Horse Park.

“She was very gracious and offered us the opportunity to cut a course in the Horse Park facility,” SHS cross country coach Meggan Franks said. “It will start on the horse track and it will weave the course on the grass there.”

It will be the chance for Franks to show off her Jackets who have performed well this season.

The SHS boys are ranked third in the state behind the top 15 ranked duo of Eli Cappleman (13th) and Christian Leech (14th). Cappleman has a time of 17:36 in 5K, while Leech has a mark of 17:40.

“We’re hoping to be top three,” Franks said about this year’s goal for the boys. “It’s going to take a few more years to be top two and ultimately we’d love to win state one year. Every year they get a little bit better.”

On the girls side, Mary Beth Woodward is ranked third in Class 6A with a time of 19:58. Caroline Mattox is ranked 15th.

Franks said the Lady Jackets are in a rebuilding stage, but said the effort of Woodward and Mattox have helped in that process.

Middle school runners Charley Schimpf with the girls and Taze Fulford with the boys are giving SHS something to look forward to in the future.

“We are trying to build a championship team and they are really buying into that culture,” Franks said of her runners. “They are really good kids and hard working.”

As far as Saturday’s action, the girls high school 5K starts at 9:30 a.m., while the high school boys 5K begins at 10:10 a.m. The junior high girls run a 2 mile at 10:40 a.m., then the boys take the course at 11:10 a.m. There will be an open 5K staged at 11:40 a.m.

The teams attending the meet will be Choctaw County, Columbus, Eupora, French Camp, J.Z. George, Kosciusko, Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science and New Hope.

For spectators wanted to see the races, there will be a $5 charge for parking at the Mississippi Horse Park.