Mooreville’s Hannah and Raychel Sanders are picking up where older sister Mycah left off two years ago, when she won the Class 4A state championship as a senior.
On Saturday, Hannah and Raychel were the top two finishers at the Tupelo Christian Invitational. Hannah, a sophomore, finished with a time of 20 minutes, 47 seconds – a full 70 seconds ahead of Raychel.
“Hannah’s a different breed. She’s got a different build – she’s a lot leaner,” Mooreville coach Johnathan Chaney said. “Raychel still has more of a sprint at the end. …
“Hannah’s just really solid and has a steady run, steady pace.”
The Sanders girls’ efforts led the Troopers to a first-place finish in the 4A-6A division. The meet was without usual participant Saltillo, the reigning 5A state champ, which won the TCPS meet last year.
But Mooreville is expected to contend in 4A and showed why Saturday. Hannah’s finish would have been the best time by a 4A runner at last year’s meet.
The younger Sanders began emerging as a freshman, overtaking Raychel, who had done the same to Mycah as a sophomore. Raychel finished just two seconds behind Hannah at the Tupelo Invitational the previous weekend.
Before each race, Chaney will approach each Sanders at the starting line to offer them a little extra motivation.
“I’ll tell Hannah, ‘Don’t let her beat you,’ right before it starts,” he said. “And I’ll look at Raychel and be like, ‘It’s the perfect day to beat her.’”
It’s a sisterly competition but a friendly one. Hannah and Raychel have five sisters, including Sarah, a promising seventh grader who is home schooled.
“In talking to Raychel, being a senior leader, she has told me, ‘I want her to do her best every race,’” Chaney said. “She said, ‘At the same time I’d love to beat her, but I do like seeing her excel at what she does.’
“It’s a good camaraderie but it’s also a sisters’ bond to where, if I don’t beat her, I still want her to do the best she can.”