The Hornets won five of the six meets they competed in this season. The Hornets closed out the year on Saturday by finishing second in the 2A State Cross Country Meet at Choctaw Trails in Clinton. The Hornets scored 62 points finishing behind the eventual state champion East Union (58 points).
“It has been an exciting, joyful season for us ( the guys),” JFK head cross country coach Linda Allen said. “They started this summer together. We talked about our strategies and the things that we wanted to do. These young men worked hard and went out and found guys to put the team together. This has been a season I won’t ever forget. These guys won every invitational meet they participated in.”
John F. Kennedy’s Octavis Taylor, a junior, was the state champion in the individual race as he ran a time of 17;45, finishing 33 seconds ahead of Madison-St. Joe senior Ryan Crandall (18:18) who took home second.
“It was a blessing,” Taylor said about winning the race. “I came out and worked hard like everybody else. I came out and ran and did what I had to do to win.”
Junior Deion Warren turned in a strong performance as he ran a time of 19:12 to finish 10th. Seventh grader Cedric Gardner (19:26, 11th); junior Keenon Bady (19:44, 17th); sophomore Jaylen Tillman (20:03, 23rd); sophomore Da’Shawn Wess (20:42, 31st) and eighth grader Khalil Strickland (21:08, 34th) rounded out the rest of the field for the Hornets at state.
Taylor said the entire team was well prepared for the state meet.
“We had to train very hard for it with the hills and everything. We had the runners and coach (Linda Allen) trained us very hard,” Taylor said.
In the girls meet, the John F. Kennedy Lady Hornets finished seventh. JFK’s Aleghsa Haywood, a freshman, finished 10th in the individual race with a time of 18:01. Junior Victoria Brown (20:57, 37th); junior Frederica Haywood (21:33, 39th); junior Ieysha Mays (21:35, 40th); freshman Kenish Coleman (21:53, 43rd); sophomore Princess James (27:53, 63rd) and eighth grader Jermesha McAdory (29:44, 67th) also ran well for the Lady Hornets.
“I’m very proud to have two juniors and a seventh grader stand on that podium (for the boys), and to have a girl (Aleghsa Haywood) for the first time ever, ninth grade to stand on the podium means a lot to me and our school and community,” Allen said.
Allen said the conditions at the meet were terrific.
“It was beautiful weather for running,” Allen said. “A lot of people attended to see the Hornets and the Lady Hornets perform. The Lady Hornets didn’t do as well as the Hornets, but I’m still proud of the Lady Hornets.”
During the year, the Hornets and Lady Hornets won the Region 2-2A Championship Meet.