Despite running with a painful blister on her left foot, Brooklyn Biancamano of Long Beach won the state 5A cross country championship for the third year in a row Monday.
East Central junior Christian Balcer was the boys winner a time of 15:50.6 — the sixth best time in the 38-year history of the state meet.
Biancamano, a sophomore, started experiencing the blisters about midway through the 5,000-meter race at Choctaw Trails.
“There are quite a few hills on this course and every time I went up a hill it hurt really bad,” she said, “I didn’t want to stop. I just wanted to get through the race.”
Which she did, finishing with a time of 18:33.2, a minute ahead of runnerup Madison Jones of Saltillo.
Biancamano was in near agony at the end of the race and entered the Mississippi Sports Medicine tent for treatment She has never before had a blister problem and doesn’t know what caused it.
“I haven’t changed my foot apparel, so I’m confused,” she said.
Because of the blisters, her time was half a minute slower than her meet record 18:03.5 two years ago as an eighth-grader. She also has the second best time of 18:10.7 last year.
Balcer finished a minute ahead of runnerup Grayson Childress of Brookhaven. He was 14 seconds off the meet record of 15:26.7 set by former East Central standout Jake Raines 18 years ago.
Balcer said Raines is an inspiration for East Central runners, but he feels he can break the record as a senior “with some hard work.”
East Central was fourth in the boys meet and fifth in the girls meet. Long Beach finished fourth for girls and fifth for boys. East Central’s top girl was Grace Brewer, who crossed the line ninth with a time of 21:43.6.
For Long Beach, Brandon Griffith was the top boy, 16th in 18:23.1.
Winning teams Monday were Brookhaven boys and Saltillo girls for 5A, Senatobia boys and St. Andrew’s girls for 3A and Tupelo Christian boys and girls in 1A.
The 2A/4A/6A meet will be held Wednesday St. Patrick is the defending champion in 2A boys and girls. Corinth is defending boys and girls 4A champion, Ocean Springs in 6A boys and Pearl in 6A girls.