Nov. 5—OAKVILLE — Noah George came to the state cross country meet with the top time in Class 6A this season.
A slip in the rain altered his trajectory.
The Oxford senior finished 21st in 17:04.52 to lead the Yellow Jackets to a fifth-place finish. Evan Somers was close behind, in 27th (17:11.80).
In the 6A girls' race, Calhoun County and sectional champion Katie Keur finished fourth in 19:07.0 to lead Oxford's four runners.
George, the two-time Calhoun County champion who broke his own course and meet record at McClellan two weeks ago, came into Saturday's state meet ranked No. 1 in 6A, based on his 15:36.62 earlier this season.
"I was sad" after Saturday's rain- and fall-marred state finale.
"I really wanted to go low 15s and even get a win today," he said. "I felt good, and not being able to do that? I mean, it's something I couldn't help."
George was running third with a pack and hit a U-turn in the course.
"I got to .75 ... and I stepped, and my foot just gave out in the mud," George said. "I just ended up falling.
"I tried to jump right back up. It maybe took me about 10 seconds.
George, who has committed to run for Alabama-Huntsville, will run at Running Lane Nationals before moving on to the track season.
"I'm just going to push past this and look forward to the next race," he said.
As for Keur, she came into the race with a realistic shot at third.
"I wanted third, for sure, but I'm not unhappy about it," she said. "Last year, I got, maybe, 30th or so, so it's a big improvement, so I'm happy with it."
Led by Jack Wiggins' 17th-place finish (16:53.85), Lincoln's boys took fifth place. Alexandria Byrd finished 51st (22:40.26) to lead the girls to 11th place.
Clay Central's girls were 12th and the boys 14th. Jessa Nash finished 48th (22:28.54), and Cameron Wilson was 68th (18:41.03).
Alexandria's JoJo Watson finished 14th (20:02.12), and Michaela Moore was 37th (21:48.45). In the boys' race, Jonah Medders was 43rd (17:57.49).
Piedmont's Mattie Todd finished 25th in (21:53.46), and Claudia Dempsey was 73rd (24:10.84). Ohatchee's Ashlie Easterwood took 66th (23:44.85).
Led by Eli Mitchell's 24th-place finish (18:54.84), Faith Christian's boys finished 10th. The girls finished 14th, led by Evie Garrett in 34th (23:29.54).
Jacksonville Christian's Tyler Doggrell finished 48th (19:46.87).
Sports Writer Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter: @jmedley_star.