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For this week's MileSplit Mississippi Senior Sendoff, we are sending off the back-to-back High School Girls 400m MHSAA 6A State Champion from Biloxi High School, Gracyn Yelverton!
Yelverton will be taking her talents to Oxford, Miss., where she will continue to run the 400m dash for the Lady Rebels in the Fall!
Yelverton is coming off of a Hollywood senior season at Biloxi. She ran PRs in every distance from the 100m to the 400m, and qualified in all three of those distances, both individual and relay, at the 2022 MHSAA 6A Track and Field Championships, running a total of six events at the state meet.
At the 2022 MHSAA 6A Track and Field Championships, Yelverton ran a PR of 56.80 to defend her 400m state title, polishing off her undefeated streak in the 400m with a total of nine straight wins.
Yelverton winning the 2021 MHSAA 6A High School Girls 400m title
Yelverton will fit right into the Lady Rebel's 400m squad. Their top performer in the one-lap event Olivia Womack, a Clinton High School graduate, who went 55.19 in the 2022 outdoor season.
Once Yelverton is registered for classes, she will be working toward getting a degree in Business, which is a program that focuses on building a solid understanding of business fundamentals.
We asked Yelverton some questions and insight in regards to her high school career, what she loves about running, and some advice that she would leave behind to all of the track and field athletes that are still on their journey.
Check them out below!
Q: Explain your 'running journey'... (How did you get into running, how did your senior season go, and how did you get connected with the college that you are going to?)
A: I started running my 8th-grade year because my mom made me. Track was not a big sport at my school. But instantly i fell in love. The small community track and field had was something i had never experienced with the other sports I participated in. I started with running the 800 and 1600m my 8th-10th grade. Junior year hit, and started my season off with a big 400m PR. I then became a 400m runner. After attending my first state meet, I dropped a big personal record and unexpectedly won.
I became competitive and started training in summer and indoors, which set me up for my senior outdoor season.
I got connected with my college coach through my high school coach.
Q: What is your most memorable meet/race and why?
A: 2021 state meet was my most memorable meet due to the fact I shocked myself entirely. I went in as the underdog in both of my races, 400m and 4 by 400m, and surprisingly came out on top. This was by far the best feeling in the world.
Q: Out of all your high school achievements, which one means the most to you and why?
A: Making it to state and being able to score points for my team.
Q: If you could go back and do it all over again, what would you change, if anything?
A: I would definitely change how I took defeats, even if I didn't lose necessarily not pr ing seemed like a loss to me. I realized after this year, that you are not going to PR every single time you run. Once i realized that even if i didn't pr I still learned experience with my race.
Q: Who is somebody that you look up to/someone that helped you along your journey to get you where you are today?
A: 100% my high school coach, Coach Oneal. If it were not for him I definitely would not be into running or most likely wouldn't have even started. He gave me the inspiration to run and make it all possible. He makes unrealistic expectations come to life. I would not have accomplished any track and field accomplishments without him.
Q: What will you miss the most?
A: What I will miss most is getting to run with my little sisters. It makes everything more enjoyable getting to have a competitive aspect like no other.
Also, I will miss my coaches, they truly treat us like their own and make running super enjoyable. They make me and the team look forward to the hard practices because they make them fun.
Q: What piece of advice would you give to the younger athletes that are just getting started on their journey?
Training hard during preseason makes for a more fun season. Take hard days hard and easy days easy, your body needs breaks.
Watch Yelverton win the 2022 MHSAA 6A High School Girls 400m state title below!