The Weekend Ahead: Arkansas, McNeese, MLK Invite

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Things are heating up in MHSAA 6A as the indoor season continues in Birmingham on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

On the girl's side, Clinton High School will return to maintain its claim as the top team in Mississippi, but challengers arise in the form of Pearl High School and Biloxi High School

Potentially, the most dominant performer of the weekend will be none other than Clinton's Meagan Womack. The Mississippi State signee is coming off a monster performance two weeks ago in which she threw a mark of 42-5, beating her closest opponent by almost four feet! She will be looking to hit yet another lifetime best and state record this weekend and take her third win of the indoor season.

READ NEXT: Clinton's Meagan Womack breaks Miss. High School Girls Indoor SP Record

Clinton also has an elite sprinter in junior Tacherria Lawson. After winning the 60-meter dash at the Magic City Invitational, the No. 1 indoor sprinter in Mississippi had some difficulty two weeks ago, finishing 11th. She is coming in as the third fastest time in the event and will be looking to notch her second win of the season.

The top mark in the Mississippi indoor women's 400m is South Panola's Samyra Wright, covering the distance in 1:00.26. Currently, eight Mississippi entries in this meet are seeded within 5 seconds of this time, and four entries are seeded within three seconds. We believe that the runner that gets the top Mississippi time in the meet will also have the top Mississippi time in the season. Biloxi's Addison Yelverton, Clinton's Nakirsten Hughes, and Wright be within striking distance of the season's top time. 

Not to be confused with Addison, Biloxi's future star, Emerson Yelverton, is also looking to make a splash in the indoor season.

READ NEXT: Future Stars: Biloxi High School's Emerson Yelverton

After opening the season at the LSU High School Classic last week, she will be looking to return to form on Monday. While she is entered in the 400m, the 800m, and the 1600m, her most competitive events will probably be the 400m and the 800m. If she can avoid fatigue on race day, she is within striking distance to contend for the number one 400m and 800m time. 

Katherine Neal from Pearl is back this weekend after narrowly losing the top spot to MRA's Mae Ellen Mallet in Baton Rouge last weekend at the LSU High School Classic. If she can improve her time by more than five seconds, she will become the top 1600m runner in Mississippi.

In other news, Julie Segroves of Biloxi High will be competing with Westbrook Pole Vault and will look to take another indoor win at the McNeese State Indoor Invitational. She is the No.1 Pole Vaulter in America in her age group and is looking to extend her lead in that category.

The name to keep an eye on the MHSAA 6A Boys is the new Mississippi High School Boys Indoor Pole Vault record holder, Oxford's John Scott Kendricks.

READ NEXT: Oxford's John Scott Kendricks breaks Miss. HS Boys Indoor PV record

After coming off a state record of 16-5.25 to win the LSU High School Classic, Kendricks will be heading to his future training facilities to compete at the Arkansas High School Invitational and go for the coveted 17-foot barrier.

Another MHSAA 6A stud to look out for is the recent winner of the fast heat in the 1600m at the LSU High School Classic, Pearl's 2022 MHSAA 6A Cross Country Champion, JaQuavion Bryant

WATCH: MileSplit Mississippi Tasty Race: JaQuavion Bryant wins LSU 1600m

As we have now written numerous times, Bryant closed in a lethal sub-30 last 200 meters on a flat track to take down the field last weekend. The finishing time was 4:34.05, but we think he has the potential to break 4:30, and maybe even challenge Jaheim Bridges for the No. 1 ranking in Mississippi - Especially if he races the same way he did at LSU. 

Pearl is one of the most dominant distance squads in Mississippi history. Bryant, along with Farren Oberto, and Maxi Duran in the 1600m, and Tanner Moore and Jon Haralson in the 800m, an event that Bryant is also racing. 

Outside of the distance events, jumps specialists Marcus Thompson and Kingi McNair will try and hold off Clinton's Max Littleton in the jumping events. Thompson, also a 51.5 400m runner, jumped 19-4.25 in the Long Jump and 40-3.75 in the Triple Jump, currently ranked in the top five in both events in Mississippi. McNair is coming off a solid performance at LSU, winning the High Jump in 6-4 whilst also jumping 18-8 in the Long Jump and 41-4.5 in the Triple Jump. He is currently ranked second in the High Jump and third in the Triple Jump in state rankings. 

While the Pearl Pirates hold down the distance events, Clinton seems to be running just about everything else. 

Led by MHSAA 6A studs Omari Hampton, Maxiumus Littleton, Miguel Bankston, and Cayden Wilson, The Arrows have a very solid and versatile squad. 

Hampton, the reigning MHSAA 6A 100m and 200m champion is currently No. 2 in Mississippi in the 60m dash, just 0.01 second off of the No. 1 spot. Littleton leads Mississippi in the Long Jump and High Jump, and is currently No. 2 in the Triple Jump to Mississippi Indoor record holder Sterling Scott. Bankston, the reigning MHSAA 6A 800m Champion, ran a state-leading 800m time 1:58.1 at the Ice Breaker. He is also gone 51.99 in the 400-meter dash this season. Wilson is a promising Shot Put thrower, and currently leads Mississippi in the event. 

RESULTS: 2022 MHSAA 6A Track and Field Championships

These Arrows, alongside Jeremiah Barnett, Casey Wright and Creston Garlington, should indeed represent Mississippi well at the MLK Classic on Monday. 

There will also be some heavy hitters competing outside of MHSAA 6A. 

Leading the charge of that group is Sumrall's Heidi Hudson, the Mississippi High School Girls Indoor Long Jump and High Jump record holder. She is recently coming off a competition at the LSU High School Classic, in which he jumped a state record 18-8.5 in the Long Jump to place third overall, as well as a 5-5.75 in the High Jump to finish runner-up. In every one of Hudson's meets this season, she has gone home with a state record, and we will if that streak continues on Monday at the MLK Invite in Birmingham, Ala. on Monday. 

Another strong contender out of Hattiesburg High School, 8 x MHSAA 5A Champion Lenasia Drummond. Drummond will be making her Indoor Track and Field season debut. She will stick to her talents and compete in the Long Jump, Triple Jump, and 60-meter hurdles, and has a strong chance to not only come away with state-leading marks in those events, but also potentially snag a few state records as well. 

Drummond is leading a strong Hattiesburg contingency that includes MHSAA 5A Shot Put 4th-place finisher Malek Jones, MHSAA 5A Triple Jump Runner-up Amyziah Thompson, MHSAA 5A Long Jump Runner-up Kymiah Hilton, and 8.22 60m performer Irianna Evans

Sprinting powerhouse Tylertown High School will also have a solid crew to compete at the MLK Invitational on Monday, Jan. 16, in Birmingham, Ala. Kendrell Robertson, the No. 1 ranked 60-meter hurdler in Mississippi and No. 33 in the nation, is entered in both the 60-meter hurdles and 60-meter dash. Robertson has already secured  a MileSplit Mississippi 1st-team mark in the 60-meter hurdles and will now chase one in the 60-meter dash this weekend in Birmingham. 

Other notable competitors representing the Chiefs include Tylertown future star Jamarcus Garrett in the 400-meter dash, MHSAA 3A 300mH bronze medalist Jourdan Clements, MHSAA 3A High Jump bronze medalist Henry Hill, 10.92 100m runner Kylon Magee, and MHSAA 3A 110mH 4th-place finisher Avery Abram Jr.

READ NEXT: Future Stars: Tylertown's Jamarcus Garrett

As the indoor track and field season heats up, Mississippi's top athletes are gearing up for a competitive weekend ahead. With strong performances in training and a determined mindset, these athletes are poised to make a statement on the state, and maybe even national stage. Be sure to keep an eye out for Mississippi's athletes as they look to leave their mark in the indoor arena

Written by: Chris Webber (Editor) and Hudson James

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