BIRMINGHAM, Ala. --- Mississippi Track and Field athletes showed up and showed out at the Martin Luther King Indoor Track Classic. Two more state records, as well as 84 MileSplit Mississippi Second-Team standards, nearly double than the previous weekend. 30 of those MileSplit Mississippi Second-Team performances came from the Clinton High School Arrows highlighted by Max Littleton, Miguel Bankston, and Tacherria Lawson. Right behind Clinton, 27 were garnered by the Pearl High School Pirates, led by JaQuavion Bryant, Kingi McNair, and Katherine Neal. MHSAA 5A stud Lenasia Drummond is back in action, Addison Yelverton became the first Mississippi girl to break 60 seconds in the 400-meter dash this season, and we also saw things heating up with the Tylertown sprints squad.
Most of the unpacked action came from performances at the Birmingham Crossplex, but we also saw Pole Vault action from across the South from state record holders John Scott Kendricks and Julie Segroves. Lastly, Sterling Scott strikes again as another Mississippi record was broken in Gainesville, Florida.
All in all, it was yet another successful weekend in Mississippi High School Track and Field that gave MileSplit Mississippi plenty to write about.
For the full recap, look no further than the information below!
They said it
Clinton High School's Miguel Bankston
*commenting on his Mississippi No. 1 800m performance at MLK
"My goal was to have better race than last meet and have fun. I feel great about MLK, I still improving and finding the best racing strategy for me."
Pearl High School's JaQuavion Bryant
*commenting on his Mississippi No. 2 1600m performance at MLK
"I was a little nervous about the competition, and also surprised on how fast we went out, but it was also fun and definitely exceeded my expectations. Other than the hot pace early in the race, everything went according to plan. Now, it's time to continue practicing and get better and keep having fun racing other competitors."
*Jaquavion Bryant winning the 2023 LSU High School Classic
Photo credits: MileSplit Louisiana
Clinton High School's Max Littleton
*commenting on his jumps performance
I didn't meet any goals, but I am staying consistent with my jumps and I'm gradually increasing each event so I'm okay with it for now. I'm going to use the next two weeks until Last Chance to rest, work harder, and get prepare myself so I can give this meet all I got."
Oxford High School's John Scott Kendricks
*commenting on his PV win at Arkansas
"My main goal with this meet was to come and have fun and compete well in front of my future coaches and teammates. I knew the No. 5 ranked jumper in the nation was going to be there so it would be a challenging meet and I just really wanted to get out there and show my future team what I could do. It was a huge field of jumpers with almost 40 people, so the size of the meet and the level of competition were very tough. Cade Dewitt was the jumper I mentioned before, and he made the competition very intense, going back and forth until 16'7 3/4 put us both down, and I eventually won on misses. I was thrilled to come away with the win and the experience from the meet, and I'll get to compete there a lot next year."
Biloxi High School's Julie Segroves
*commenting on her PV win at McNeese St.
"I was glad to have the opportunity to jump there and compete. It was an enjoyable meet, and would go again. I also got to talk to some of the pole vaulters who went to school there, and they gave me some good advice."
From the Editor
*commenting on Max Littleton's indoor season
"What Max Littleton has been doing on the jumps scene this indoor season has been nothing short of incredible. We spoke with him on his goals at the beginning of the indoor season, and he has shown that he put the work in when no one was watching to make sure those goals happen."
*commenting on Miguel Bankston's MLK performance
"The reigning MHSAA 6A 800m Champion has started right where he left off in the 800m. He now owns the two fastest 800-meter performances in the state, and is also the only Mississippi sub-2 800-meter runner on the indoor circuit. 1:57 in January is nothing to shrug your shoulders at, and we can only imagine what Bankston has in store for us once the outdoor season is upon us."
*Miguel Bankston at the 2021 MHSAA 6A North State Championships
Photo credits: Chris Webber (Editor)
*commenting on Meagan Womack's indoor season
"After breaking the state record in her third competition in a row, as well as another meet record, it's very clear who's on top of the Mississippi High School Girls Throws scene right now.
*commenting on Sterling Scott's indoor Triple Jump record
"We can surely say that we are glad Sterling Scott decided to hop on the indoor circuit. He has completely rewritten the jumps records, and 50 feet in the Triple Jump is not out of the question.
*commenting on the Clinton female sprints squad
"Tacherria Lawson, Zharia Bonner, Jenesis Williams, Kaitlyn Jones, Corshunna Hughes... The list of Mississippi elite sprinters on the Lady Arrows' squad is seemingly endless. With that depth, they can probably have a B-team make it to state in outdoor! With that being said, we've got to think that they could have at least one, if not two or three, girls on the podium in every sprinting event at the 2023 MHSAA 6A Outdoor Track and Field Championships."
-Clinton High School earned the highest number of MileSplit Mississippi Second-Team and First-Team performances. The Arrows garnered 30 Second-Team and 14 First-Team performances.
-With his performance at the Martin Luther King Indoor Track Classic, Omari Hampton of Clinton High blazed a time of 7.05 for the 60m dash. This now ties him for the Mississippi No. 1 spot in the 60m dash with Jeffery Gathright of Meridian High.
-Clinton High's short sprint crew is looking very deep, with Hampton's teammate Jeremiah Barnett scoring a big lifetime best in the 60m with a 7.15. That was 0.14 seconds faster than his previous best and nets him at Mississippi No. 4 .
-Clinton High's Miguel Bankston set another lifetime best in the indoor 800m with a 1:57.85. The 2022 MHSAA 6A 800m Champion continues to lead Mississippi in the 800m and looks to be making steady gains for another strong run for his senior season.
*Max Littleton at the 2022 MHSAA 6A North State Championships
Photo credits: Drew Lewis
-Maxiumus Littleton of Clinton High and Kingi McNair of Pearl competed in all three jumps at the Martin Luther King Indoor Track Classic and placed first and second among all Mississippi athletes who jumped this past weekend, aside from Sterling Scott in the Triple Jump. Littleton currently holds the Mississippi No. 1 spot in the High Jump and Long Jump and has made significant gains since the 2022 Outdoor Track and Field season.
-Ken Andrews had a breakout performance at the Martin Luther King Indoor Track Classic, setting a considerable lifetime best and taking the No. 1 spot in the Mississippi High School Boys Indoor Shot Put.
-Every Mississippi High School athlete who competed in the 1600m at the Martin Luther King Indoor Track Classic ran a lifetime indoor best. The fastest Mississippi runner on the weekend was Pearl's Jaquavion Bryant, who barely missed out on the Mississippi No. 1 spot by mere milliseconds to Tupelo's Jaheim Bridges. Bryant improved nearly ten seconds from his season debut at the LSU High School Classic.
-Bryant also ran a very strong double in his first-ever indoor 800m for a 2:00.5, another Mississippi No. 2 mark for Bryant.
-Biloxi's Addison Yelverton, the top MHSAA 6A returner in the 400m, became the first Mississippi High School Girl to go under 60 seconds in the 400m dash. She did so in heat 15 at Martin Luther King Indoor Track Classic, obliterating the rest of the field. One fun fact on this statistic is that last year, the first girl to go under 60 seconds on the indoor circuit was Addison's older sister, Gracyn Yelverton, who is now competing at Ole Miss.
-Katherine Neal took the state indoor 1600m lead with her best performance to date. Neal has steadily progressed in every 1600m race she's run. The Pearl junior cut 17 seconds from her first 1600m race this year to her latest at the Martin Luther King Indoor Track Classic #2. In the same meet, Neal also ran the second fastest 3200m in the state and a solid 800m performance. This is Neal's best track season, and we haven't even gotten to February yet.
*Katherine Neal at the 2022 MHSAA 6A Cross Country Championships
Photo credits: Chris Bell
-Meagan Womack of Clinton High has broken the Mississippi High School Girls Indoor Shot Put record three times through three competitions. This time, she raised the standard at 42-6 and won and set the meet record at the Martin Luther King Indoor Track Classic #2. She is now ranked at No. 13 in the United States in the Shot Put.
-Tacherria Lawson and Zharia Bonner, already the top 2 female sprinters in Mississippi, further prove that statistic at the Martin Luther King Indoor Track Classic on Monday. Lawson and Bonner came in fifth and sixth, respectively, and flew over the indoor straight away in 7.77 and 7.80. Bonner set a new personal best, while Lawson has shown solid consistency. Lawson is currently ranked 71st in the national rankings while Bonner just barely missed out on the top 100.
-Tylertown sent a host of sprinters, and many of them walked away with notable performances. The Tylertown senior, Kendrell Robertson made a statement in the 60mH, a time of 8.26 to placed third at the Martin Luther King Indoor Track Classic, only behind Alabama's top two 60m hurdlers. This effort was a personal best and ranks him as the top 60m hurdler in Mississippi by more than two-tenths of a second so far this season. Additionally, this mark places Robertson sixth in the Mississippi all-time lists and the best in the last four years among all Mississippi athletes.
-Tylertown junior Avery Abram Jr., a talented outdoor hurdler and jumper, took his talent to the indoor circuit and placed eighth in his first 60mH competition. Running an exceptional mark of 8.68, he is now the second-best 60-meter hurdler in MHSAA 3A, as well as third in Mississippi.
-Lee Holmes burst onto the scene in his 2023 Track and Field debut. In his first-ever time stepping onto the indoor oval, Holmes ran 7.15 for the 60m dash, placing 21st in the meet. This effort catapulted him to the top of MHSAA 3A and ranks him fourth in the state of Mississippi.
-Ka'Nia Lewis, an outdoor MHSAA 5A state qualifier in the 400m as a freshman, ran an indoor personal best in the event by two seconds, covering the distance in 1:03.28. Her continued run of form could push her closer to the 60-second barrier as the season continues.
*Lenasia Drummond at the 2022 MHSAA 5A Track and Field Championships
Photo credits: Brock Kelly
-Arguably the most impressive performance of the weekend came from the Hattiesburg senior Lenasia Drummond. Competing in the 60mH, Long Jump, and Triple Jump she is potentially one of the best interdisciplinary athletes in the state this season. Placing third in the hurdles, Drummond ran a time of 9.04 seconds and is comfortably atop the Mississippi rankings in that event.
-Drummond also placed second in the Long Jump with a mark of 17-4.25. Placed only behind Sumrall's Heidi Hudson, the state record holder, Drummond is firmly one of the best long jumpers so far this season. Her personal best of 17-8.75 also puts her fourth in the Mississippi all-time rankings.
Moreover, the Hattiesburg senior dominated the triple jump. Hitting a mark of 37-1.5, she was the only athlete at the Martin Luther King Indoor Track Classic to break 37 feet. With this effort, she is now the third-best triple jumper in Mississippi Indoor history, and once again leads Mississippi in the 2023 indoor season.
In Other News
-As mentioned in this article dedicated to the details of this feat, Sterling Scott of Starkville High broke his own Mississippi High School Boys Indoor Triple Jump State Record, improving almost half a foot from his previous PR of 49-4.25. Scott competed in a very competitive age group and battled it out for 2nd place in his age division at the Jimmy Carnes Invitational.
*John Scott Kendricks at the 2022 Pearl Season Opener
Photo credits: Ben Woolhouse
-John Scott Kendricks, the Mississippi High School Boys Indoor Pole Vault record holder, continued his reign as the king of the Pole Vault pit by snagging another win at the Arkansas High School Invitational. This will be his 12th consecutive victory with his streak spanning since his win at the Mississippi Track & Field Meet Of Champions.
-Julie Segroves, the Mississippi High School Girls Pole Vault record holder, extended her undefeated streak to four wins out of four competitions this indoor season. At the McNeese State Indoor Invitational, the Biloxi sophomore vaulted 12-6 for the win. Her teammate, Kate Kuykendall, finished runner-up in 11 feet, making it a Biloxi 1-2 finish.
Written by: Chris Webber (Editor), Braedon Methvin, and Preston Speed
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