There were two divisions among the 123 runners in the MHSAA 5A girls cross country state meet Monday at the Choctaw Trails course — Long Beach eighth-grader Brooklyn Biancamano and everyone else.
Biancamano sprinted down the hill at the gun to take a lead that kept growing throughout the five kilometer race. When she crossed the finish line in 18:03.5 she had achieved her goal of setting the state meet record for the years that the girls races have been competed at five kilometers — 1982-1988 and since 2014. The previous record of 18:18.4 was set by former Starkville star Kate Mattox in 2014.
“I’m very pleased about today,” Biancamano said.
She finished more than 2 1⁄2 minutes ahead of second-place Emma Kate White of Saltillo, a margin of more than 650 yards. If the race had been on a 400 meter track, she would have lapped the entire field, most of the other runners more than once. The gap between first and second was greater than the gap between second and 20th.
Biancamano was only six seconds over her personal best despite running on the difficult Choctaw Trails course with unseasonably warm temperatures in the high 70s.
“It’s because of all the hills,” she said about the course. “We don’t train on hills that much.”
She finished fourth at the state meet as a seventh-grader last year, and now has a goal of becoming a five-time champion before she graduates.
Her personal best of 17:57.14 trails only Morgan Claire Rose of Kirk Academy among state runners this year. The two met in a race at Choctaw Trails this year. “She beat me by a couple of seconds,” Biancamano said.
The best team finish by a Coast school during Monday’s 5A-3A-1A meet was third by West Harrison boys in 5A. The Hurricanes finished with 157 points, trailing Brookhaven (39) and Saltillo (43).
West Harrison was led by sophomore Matthew Collins, who finished 19th.
Long Beach had fourth place finishes in 5A boys and girls.
Team winners were Brookhaven in 5A boys, Saltillo in 5A girls, St. Andrew’s in 3A boys, Choctaw Central in 3A girls, Tupelo Christian in 1A boys and Myrtle in 1A girls.
Ocean Springs girls and St. Patrick boys won team championships Saturday when the 6A-4A-2A meet was held and Vancleave senior Lina May won the 4A individual title for the third year in a row.