Lenasia Drummond at Hattiesburg
Much like in distance, the sprinting events are going to be absolutely loaded this year. Especially in MHSAA 6A, but MAIS 4A will be pretty stacked as well on the girl's side. From the short sprints, hurdles, and who to watch out for as a team, we have a lot to cover, so let's get to it.
First off, this wouldn't be a sprints article if we didn't mention Kennedi Sanders of Madison Ridgeland Academy… so let's go ahead and get right to it. Sanders got busy this indoor season, running a total of 8 races in the regular season, and never finished worse than 2nd. She won 5 of them. She closed off the regular season running 55.7, essentially tying her PR at MLK, and then ran a speedy 7.59 in the 60m at Last Chance. Running under 56 seconds in the 400 as a junior is INSANE. As a matter of fact, her mark this year in the 400 was a top 20 national mark. However, Sanders wasn't done yet. She decided to go for the shorter events at adidas Indoor Nationals and entered in the 60m and 200m, where she made the final in both in the championship division. In the 60m, she went 7.56, good for 8th in the final. The 200, however, is where she really shocked us. She ran an indoor PR of 24.28 to get into the final, and then proceeded to run an astonishing 23.86 in the final! This finish was solid for a 4th place finish at Indoor Nationals. This mark is also the second-fastest time Mississippi high school female has ever run indoors. MRA got a good one in Sanders, and we should expect her to be fighting to score 30 points individually at the MAIS State Championships in May.
Next up is the short sprint specialist from Tylertown High School, Jordan Anthony. Anthony went to WORK in the indoor season, running under 7 seconds for 60m on three separate occasions. He raced 3 different times in the 60m in the regular season, winning 2 of his races and finishing second in the other. However, his most impressive performances came at Adidas Indoor Nationals. In the 60, he made it through the prelims and the semis, running 6.99 in both. Then, out of seemingly nowhere, Anthony dashed to the line in the final, running an astounding 6.84 seconds!! This performance was good for 3rd at Nationals and #2 All-time in Mississippi. We only got to see him once in the 2020 outdoor season before it got shut down, which was a 10.61 at Southern Miss for the win. Anthony's most recent performances in the 60m indicate that he is ready for something fast in the 100m this outdoor season. Adding onto that, Anthony wasn't the only Tylertown athlete to break 7 in the 60m this past indoor season, as teammate Jeremiah Dillon went 6.99 at the Hoover Alumni Invitational. All that to say, expect these two to get to work in the 100 and 200, and watch out for Tylertown's short sprint relays this year.
Moving deeper into MHSAA 6A, we have a lot more names to look forward to, especially in the 400. The top returner in the state is Corvin Johnson from Pearl High School. Speaking of Johnson, AKA "Mr. Do-it-all", let's analyze some of his past performances. Even in his short-lived 2020 season, he only competed in 3 track meets, yet got on the startling and raced nine different times. At the 2020 Southern Miss HS Invite, Johnson QUADRUPLED in individual events, running the 100m in 10.72w, 200m in 21.78w, the 400m in 50.40, and the 110H, the event in which he is the 6A defending state champion, in 15.81. That is an insane one-day performance, and it seems like he will be looking to grab as many points as he can get come championship season. He also ran a 14.97 on his home track at the Pearl Track and Field Opener to open up the season… and this was in early February last year. There's no telling what he would have run if he would have kept competing throughout the 2020 season. I'm not sure what kind of shape he's in heading into this year, but if he's anything like last season, expect him to shake things up big time in 6A this year.
Going back to the 400 in 6A, it is crazy how deep this one lap race is this year - especially if Pearl decides to throw Johnson in it. The fastest 400m runner from the indoor season is Kemarie Wade of Meridian High School, who ran 51.7 on two occasions(UPDATE: Wade has opened up his season with a 50.9 400m). You also have Jamel Simes of Madison Central HS, who went 50.95 before his season got shut down last year. All in all, the 400 will be TOUGH to make in 6A this year, and I would bet you will have to least need to run a low 51 just to make it to the starting line at state this year.
Outside of 6A, there are still some big names that we should look forward to watching on the outdoor circuit this year. For starters, I am very curious to see what kind of shape MHSAA 2A stud Thaddeus Latham of North Side High School is in. From the 100m-400m, Latham is pretty solid all around. He only ran one meet in the 2020 corona season, in which he won his primary event, the 400, in a 51.94. However, his sophomore PR's of 10.98 in the 100m, 22.06 in the 200m, and 49.21 in the 400m are some times that can't be ignored. He will be very dangerous in 2A this year, especially if he decides to go for the triple crown in May. His sophomore year, all of his fastest times came at state, and if he replicates that in his senior season, Latham has the potential to be historically fast this year. Could he possibly pull off going sub 11, sub 22, and sub 49 among the three sprinting events?
The last thing to talk about in the men's 400 is the zippy duo from Northeast Lauderdale HS, Dymon McCory and Lasanto Rowe. These two have the chance to absolutely dominate 4A in the 100-400 meter events this year. For starters both have run under 50 seconds for the 400, and both did so their sophomore year. McCory's came at South State for the win, while Rowe had more of a Cinderella story, as he ran 49.96 to win State, which was his only win of the year. McCory finished 3rd in that same state final. Over the summer, McCory dropped a crazy fast time of 10.60 in the 100m at the State Games. He also won the 400 at that same meet, with Rowe finishing right behind him in second. It will be interesting to see what these two can do this Spring, but depending on what other 400 meter runners NE Lauderdale has, they have the potential to dominate the individual 400s, as well as the 4x400.
Moving back over to the ladies side of things, the top returner in the 100m would be Cheyanne Alston from Biloxi High School with a 12.30. Alston, who has already opened up her season with a 15-8 LJ, won all of her races in the 100m before her season was cut short. Even more impressive, however, was last year was the freshman's, now sophomore, first year even competing in track. If she's been putting the work in, she could be one to look out for. Alston will be gunning for 12.03 100m runner Mylani Galbreath from Murrah High School, as well as 12.21 runner Trinity Williams from Clinton High School. Both of these athletes have not competed in an individual event outdoors since the 2019 season.
In the MAIS, apart from Sanders, Aaliyah Dixon from Hillcrest Christian School will basically dominate the sprints. Dixon also hasn't competed since the 2019 outdoor season, but with PR's of 12.28 in the 100m and 25.39 in the 200m, she simply can't be ignored. Hillcrest has historically been good at the sprinting events, so watch out for Dixon and the rest of the crew to hit the ground running once their outdoor season is in full swing.
Going over to hurdles, we have Camille McGee from Pearl High School and Lenasia Drummond from Hattiesburg High School, the two lone runners who have broken 15 in the 100m hurdles going into the 2021 season. Drummond has already opened up her outdoor season this year with two wins in the 100 meter hurdles, as well as a 47.46 300m hurdles PR. She also got pretty busy this past indoor season, running 9.20 in the 60m H, as well as jumping an impressive 17 feet in the long jump. McGee, however, appears to take a different approach to the 100mH, as she seems to be better at the longer sprinting events. McGee went 45.3 in the 300mH, which is the #1 returning time this year, during the 2020 outdoor season, and also went 59.6 in the 400m during the 2020 indoor season. These times are some very stellar marks for the Pearl senior, and we should expect her to go for the Hurdle double come championship season. Also, it will be exciting to see what kind of times these two push each other to run in the 100H, as they are both in class 6A.
Another lady hurdler to look out for is Laurel Fulcher from Madison Ridgeland Academy. Like McGee, Fulcher tends to bode well over the longer events, as she has gone 1:01.3 in the 400m and 45.7 in the 300mH. It should also be noted that both of these times were run during her sophomore season, as she only ran one meet during the 2020 outdoor season, which was a respectable 16.45 in the 100mH. Interestingly enough, Fulcher is actually the runner-up at the 5A MAIS Overall Meet in cross country, so if that says anything about her fitness heading into track season, she will certainly be one to keep an eye on. Hopefully, Fulcer and McGee will be able to square off in either the 300H or the 400m this year.
Speaking of the MRA ladies squad, they will be a tough team to beat at their state championships, as it looks like they might dominate the sprints with Sanders and Fulcher alone. Sanders will probably go for the triple crown of the 100, 200, and 400, and it looks like Fulcher can run well in just about any event she pleases. Once you factor in 59.3 400m runner Evie Ewing, I would say that the MAIS overall 4x400 record of 4:04.9 is very much in trouble this year.
Whew… what a year we have to look forward to in the sprints this year! Like the cross country season, we could see a historically deep year in Mississippi in the sprinting events, as well as a few MHSAA/MAIS records being broken. Like always, the MS MileSplit Staff wishes the best of luck to all the athletes competing in the Spring. And remember, run fast and turn left!