By DP Daigle
Three Big Meets On The Coast This Week
It's me again, your favorite or most annoying Coach on the coast...and I'm here to give you The Run Around on what's going on in the Bottom Six Counties!
This Thursday we have two meets on tap - the 11th Annual Bearcat Track & Field Classic at Long Beach, and the West Harrison Invitational. Saturday Gulfport hosts the Gaston Hewes Relays.
Eleven teams will compete at Long Beach. Those teams are: Bay High, East Central, George County, Long Beach, Our Lady Academy, Pascagoula, Pass Christian, Pearl River Central, Poplarville, Saint Patrick, and SSC.
Just up the road from Long Beach, a field of twelve teams will compete at West Harrison. Those teams are: Biloxi, Bogalusa (LA), d'Iberville, Gulfport, Hancock, Magnolia Junior High, Moss Point, North Forrest, Oak Grove, Picayune, Saint Martin, and West Harrison.
On Saturday, Gulfport will host Biloxi, Clinton, George County, Laurel, Moss Point, Ocean Springs, and West Harrison.
With so much going on I'd like to just make predictions for the overall winners of each meet and highlight some standout performances to look for at each competition.
Let's start with Long Beach's Bearcat Classic. Coach Olan Welch always puts on a good meet, and the 11th installment of this one should be no exception. It's hard to predict this meet because it appears only East Central has gone to a full meet. The rest of the teams opened up their seasons at the Prince Jones or Rock-A-Chaw Relays. On the boys' side, though I'd say the teams to watch are East Central, SSC, Long Beach, and George County- still not really enough data to make a solid prediction. Same problem on the girls' side, but I've seen Long Beach's girls in action - I'm predicting they win their home meet.
The first thing I'd say to look out for on the boys' side is the 4x8. SSC has the best time in 4A and East Central has the second best. I think several of the distance races will be slugfests between these two teams too; they were 2nd and 3rd at the State Meet in Cross Country this season. Other notable performances will be Cory Meek from EC in high jump, he's over 6-4, and Damonta May from Pass in triple, he went 42-4.5 last meet. I'd keep an eye on the long jump competition too; it's going to be tight. Pole vault has three jumpers over 11-0; look for some good heights there. Finally, George County's Kaya Ludgood threw 49-7 in shot last week.
On the girls' side watch Long Beach in the 4x1 and 4x2 - they will be flying. Pass High's Madelyn Greene is good in triple jump; she went 34-2 last week. The pole Vault completion should be tight, and the podium will be impressive in disc. Taylor Ibele of St. Patrick, Samantha Burkett of George County, and Jenna Arenas of Long Beach have thrown 90-0, 87-9, and 81-7 respectively.
At the West Harrison Meet, there isn't enough data still because most coast teams have just attended a relay meet thus far. However, I'll go out on a limb and say that either Biloxi or Oak Grove takes home the meet title. Still out on that limb - West Harrison and Oak Grove will be your top two teams.
Individually, on the boys' side, the 100 meter dash should be fun to watch. Also watch for West Harrison's Ahmad Gage in the 400, he has a season best of 50.48. Oak Grove's Clay Derrick has run sub ten in the 3200M run; perhaps Mason Watkins of Picayune will try to run with him, his season best is 10:32.10. There are 4 guys right at 21 feet or over in long jump, and Cameron Cook of d'Iberville, Jordan Montgomery of Biloxi should lead the triple jump field. Both are in the 44 foot range. Look for someone to clear six feet at high jump, four kids in the field are at 5-10.
On the girls' side, watch for an exciting mile between Oak Grove teammates Kailey Skinner, Leighton Jenkins, and Bella Miles. They are all sub 6:30. West Harrison's Alexis Morris is at the head of the field in Disc, she's thrown 92-1 this season. Finally, d'Iberville's Lindsey Kykendall looks to improve her season mark of 8-6 in pole Vault.
At the Gaston Hewes Relays on Saturday, it's tough to tell what the coaches are going to do. Some of them have competed on Thursday - so I wonder if their lineup might reflect some athletes farther down the depth chart - or if those athletes ran on Thursday. Either way, lack of data due to it being early in the season is still a factor. However, I'll get out on that limb again and predict either Clinton or Biloxi winning the boys' side. Clinton and West Harrison should be your top two on the girls' side.
Individually, watch Rickey Colbert from Clinton in both hurdles events, he's fast. Clinton has a trio of solid 800 meter runners: Jordan Shannon, Joshun Noel, and Martinez Bogan. Clinton's Justin Kelly has launched the discus 120-0. In vertical jumps - watch Ocean Springs' Kace Reed and George County's Don'Trez Galloway in high jump and Michael Franks in pole vault.
Finally, let's look at individual performances on the girl's side. Clinton's Shelby Dean has run 5:58.88 in the 1600. West Harrison has a solid par of 100M hurdlers in Detaisha Herron, and Deniyah Downs. Clinton's Kiara Vance leads the head of the field in disc with her mark of 105-10. Greyhound Pole Vaulter Roslyn Inabinette is looking to better her season best of 11-0.
That's it for now, see you next time to give you The Run Around.