Nobody from Tipton County threatened to win a state title Saturday in Nashville at the Division I Large Class State Cross Country meet.

Just one runner finished in the top 100, but it was quite an accomplishment for the eight runners from Covington High School, six from Munford and one from Brighton who made it to the most prestigious meet the state has to offer.

Covington freshman Hailey Landers fared best, finishing in 51st place out of 194 runners with a personal best time of 20:40 on the 5K course.

Five other girls from Covington also competed as the Lady Chargers qualified as a team for the first time since reclassification.

Finishing for Covington were Na'Kya Gilliam (22:23), Kirby Bradshaw (22:36), M'dia Walker (24:20, Kloe Bradshaw (25:51), Alexandra Barrell (26:52) and Hannah Kirby (29:29). It was the third appearance at state for Kirby Bradshaw and Walker.

On the boys' side for Covington, senior Mario Hayslett made his fourth straight appearance and finished in 19:27.

"We want to give a special shout out to seniors Mario Hayslett, Michael Shelvin and Tyreese Grandberry for their hard work and perseverance," said Covington coach Sharman Coley. "Also special recognition to seniors Kirby Bradshaw and M'dia Walker for helping the Lady Chargers make team history for CHS."

The Munford boys qualified as a team for the first time in school history and six runners competed, led by Erik Walters, who finished in 19:15. Others finishing for Munford were Michael Andrews (19:24), Zerick Brown (19:26), Jackson Taranto (19:32), Brian Yang (20:33), Ethan Pacileo (21:24) and Ashton Rogers (22:33).

"I was really proud of our guys today," said Munford coach Thomas Walters. "Jackson Taranto made his second appearance at the state meet, which was a pretty big deal for him. Zerick Brown and Erik Walters finished off four years of high school running and three years of middle school. It was a long distance goal, but they accomplished it. Michael Andrews was a big help and we couldn't have made it to state without his help. With four of our top five runners graduating, we will have to rebuild a bit, but I am confident that we can get back to this race in the next several years."

Brighton senior Christian Lucius made it to state for the second straight season and finished in 18:24, the best time among boys from Tipton County.

"Christian has done very well this season," Brighton coach Brian Oswalt said about Lucius, who was the top Tipton County runner all season, won two races and placed in the top five at all but two races during the season.

Lucius bested his time at state from last year.

"He has worked hard and become a leader for future runners at BHS."

Jeff Ireland is The Leader's sports editor. To contact him, call 901-476-7116 or email jireland@covingtonleader.com.​

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