High School Sports

Coast cross-country officials run down cheating accusations

Class 4A and Class 5A cross-country boys teams take off from the start line in the region meet Saturday in Long Beach.
Class 4A and Class 5A cross-country boys teams take off from the start line in the region meet Saturday in Long Beach. amccoy@sunherald.com

Meet officials found no cheating occurred during Saturday’s MHSAA Regional Cross-Country Championships, which was hosted at Long Beach High.

The Sun Herald received complaints from several parents over the weekend alleging a Long Beach runner “jumped the course” during Saturday’s 5A boys competition.

LBHS athletics director Forrest Williams said West Harrison’s coach, Rocky Everett, raised concerns Saturday that a Bearcat runner cut off a portion of the route.

School administrators conferred with course officials, who said they did not witness any cheating.

“We have to go by what the course officials say,” Williams said.

Everett was later asked to leave the campus after allegedly disrupting the awards presentation.

Officials at both schools received video on Sunday of the athletes in question running “10-12 feet” outside the designated course lane — which is not a hard boundary, Williams said — on a straight-away portion of the track, but the video was not filmed at the portion of the course — the bus loop — where the “course jumping” allegedly occurred.

LBHS took the Region 4-5A crown, with West Harrison, Pearl River Central, Pascagoula, Gautier and Picayune rounding out the leaderboard.

According to Williams, Saturday’s meet was not a qualifier for the state championships, which are this Saturday and Monday in Clinton.

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2321, @PatrickOchs

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