JACKSON -- Ramsey Wagner ended her high school cross country career in dominating fashion Monday, leading St. Patrick to the Clas 3A state championship.
Running by herself most of the way, Wagner repeated as individual champion, covering five kilometers at the Choctaw Trails course in 19:20.7. That was a minutes and 20 seconds better than runnerup Kyannah Grant of Choctaw Trails.
"I just wanted to get out as fast as I could," Wagner said. "There is a valley a little bit after the quarter mile mark. I had run it twice already with my team warming up. I knew exactly where to go there."
It was at that point that Wagner took control of the race. She led by more than 50 yards at the mile mark and kept lengthening her advantage to more than 200 yards at the finish. "I'm kind of used to it this season," she said of running by herself.
The course was muddy in places due to heavy rain Friday night and all days Saturday. "It was like clay," Wagner said. "It was slippery under your feet."
Wagner was followed across the finish line by teammates Anna Clare Colson in third (21:01.1), Isabel Leatherman fifth (21:12.8), Gabriela Patino sixth (21:24.7) and Jordan Pete tenth (21:37.3) for a team score of 24 to 65 for runnerup Choctaw Central.
The key, according to coach Tim McDaniel, was preparation.
"We prepared extensively," he said. "Collectively, we did everything exactly as we had done it in practice, as we had done in throughout the season."
It was the sixth championship in nine years from St. Patrick and followed runnerup finishes the last two years. Wagner is a senior, but the team's next six runners are underclassmen.
Wagner is also the defending champion in the 1600 and 3200 at 3A state track meet. She plans to continue her running at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Class 5A: Saltillo swept the boys and girls team titles, with Oxford second in both. Saltillo also had the individual winners, Ken Gassaway for the boys in 17:18.9 and Emma Kate White in the girls race (20:08.6). The top Coast teams were West Harrison for boys in fourth and Long Beach for girls in sixth. Best individual runners from Coast teams were Cameron Tingle, fifth in the boys race at 17:46.9 and Anastasia Thibodeaux of Long Beach, seventh girls runner in 21:34.5.
Class 3A: St. Andrew's, with seven of the first 10, won the boys title, led by the individual winner Benjamin Hearon (17:00.3). St. Patrick was the top Coast team in sixth place and St. Patrick senior Eric Million the top individual, finishing sixth in 18:06.6.
Class 1A: Myrtle won the boys title and Hickory Flat the girls championship. Individual winners are Jarvis Harris of Hickory Flat for boys (17:35.9) and Kylie Massengill of West Union for girls (20:58). There were no Coast teams in 1A.
The 6A, 4A and 2A meets will be run Tuesday. The meets were scheduled for Saturday, but postponed due to the rain.