Picayune cross country teams running well

Published 2:59 pm Thursday, October 19, 2006

Picayune Memorial High’s boys cross country team is hoping a good start to the season will result in an even better finish later this month.

The squad ran in the prestigious Mississippi College Meet in Clinton this past weekend along with 32 other teams and finished ninth overall, but more importantly fourth among Class 4A teams.

The Maroon Tide runners have established themselves so far this season as perhaps one of the teams to beat in that class in the South this season, with the the postseason meets just a few weeks away.

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“I think we’ve shown that we can be one of the better teams in Class 4A, if we just keep improving,” veteran Picayune head coach Jerry Todd said, prior to the meet at MC. “We’ve been improving all year, and we just have to keep working at that.”

The boys have finished third twice in meets on the coast, and will get another chance to show their wares today travelling to Ocean Springs for a meet at Gulf Islands National Seashore.

“I feel real good about how our top six guys are running,” Todd added. “I’ve got a real good feeling about them.”

This past weekend, leading the way for Picayune was first year runner Ryan Taylor with a 29th place finish. Ryan’s time of 18:14 was the fastest time this year and it came on the toughest course of the year.

That course at MC, in fact, is the same course the state meet will take place on in a few weeks.

“Ryan ran track last year and we talked him into running cross country this year to help him in the outdoor track season.” Todd said.

One second behind him was Marvin Mercado in 30th place in the 271 runner field. Devin Wilson was 3rd on the team in 50th place followed by eight grader Andy Flynn in 89th and Manny Jefferson in 98th. Next was Taylor Dufrene and Chamber Pitre.

Earlier in the year, Picayune took first place in a seven team meet at Pearl River, La., High and the Maroon Tide tandem of Wilson, Mercado and Taylor swept the top three places. Wilson’s win was the only first place so far for the team on the season.

Also, the boys team finished third out of 23 teams in meets at both East Central High School and Biloxi High earlier this season.

At ECHS, Mercado was seventh, Wilson 10th and Taylor 11th.

In Biloxi, Mercado was 9th, Wilson 12th, and Taylor 20th.

• For the Picayune girls, Breanna Fortenberry has consistently been the top runner this season.

• After today’s meet in Ocean Springs, the Tide and Lady Tide will run in the district meet on Oct 28 at East Central.

Then, the following week the state meet takes place in Clinton on Saturday, Nov. 4 at Mississippi College.