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Northeast sweeps District 4 cross country matchup

By Staff
ON THE RUN – Runners from Neshoba Central, Northeast Lauderdale and New Hope take their start in girls cross country action. Photo by Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star
By Jeff Byrd / staff writer
Nov. 2, 2002
Any high school team, and for that manner any high school runner, that wants to run in next week's State Cross Country Meet at the Choctaw Trails in Clinton, can do so.
Still, Northeast Lauderdale head cross country coach James Mathews thought it would be good idea to host a dual, district title meet at Northeast High on Saturday morning.
Despite the cool weather, the Lady Trojans and Trojans took home District Four-4A titles while Quitman swept the District 5-4A titles.
All five teams that ran Saturday can move on to the state meet.
One Northeast runner who was looking to stay sharp for next week's race was Melissa Brents. Last year, Brents finished second at the Class 4A meet. She says it will be a tough battle again since the girl from Pearl who beat her last year is back again.
Improving her time is Brents' is main goal.
Brents would like to run collegiate track and cross country but it won't be a priority.
The team race proved to be pretty competitve. Northeast took the title by a five-point margin, 30-25. A key was the second place finish of Tashae Portis who ran a 18:00.80 time, her best of the season.
From there, Neshoba Central and Northeast swapped out finishers in between a fourth place from New Hope who did not have enough runners to score in the team event.
The Lady Rockets had five runners in the top 11 led by a third-place finish from Ashley Jenkins in 18:08.40.
Northeast's scorers were rounded out by April Lussier, fifth; Crystal Williams, 10th; and Whitney Ward 13th.
In the District 4 boys race, the Rockets had the top two finishers but Northeast got the next four in a row to take the team title, 28 to 37. New Hope was third with 60.
Anthony Jones of Neshoba won the individual race in 18:49.30. Eric Truss was second at 18:54.50. Alex Curry of Northeast was third at 19:41.40.
Northeast's other scorers were Matt Rich, Chris Gill, Jeremiah Raveling and Jonathan Powe.
In the District V meet, the Quitman girls won in a walk-over since Laurel did not have enough runners. Danesha Williams of Quitman won the individual race with a time of 18:40.80. Laurel's Rena McCullum was second and Quitman's Ashley Doherty was third.
Laurel did have enough for the boys meet, but Quitman won anyway with 17 points. Laurel had 41.
Quitman had all five of its runners finish in the top six. McElvin Shepherd won the race in 19:47.00. Randy Carter was second followed by Ryan Gunning. Lakendrick McCullum placed fourth for Laurel.

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