Monday Morning Recap: Last Chance does not disappoint

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With the completion of the 2023 Last Chance Invitational, the 2023 Mississippi Indoor Track and Field season (excluding post-season meets) has come to a close. And now, time to gear up for outdoor!

All in all, from Mississippi No. 1 marks, several marks that the MileSplit Mississippi first and second team standards, and rivalries in the making, the Last Chance Invite certainly did not disappoint. We are looking forward to what the Mississippi Track and Field community will accomplish in the future, and it is safe to say that much was accomplished in Birmingham on Saturday. 

READ NEXT: Combined Results, High School Girls | Combined Results, High School Boys

Santucci's return

Sophie Santucci's return to the indoor track was just as exciting as it was hyped up to be.

The Tupelo junior took the Mississippi lead in the High School Girl's 800-meter run and the 1600-meter run.

In the 800m, Santucci's time was 2:26.8, placing her in seventh overall. In the 1600m, she ran a 5:29.3 and is now the one and only female prep to have gone under 5:30 in Mississippi this season. 

Sophie Santucci commenting on her indoor debut

"I did better than I was expecting, even though I wasn't expecting much to begin with considering how often I'm injured, and how hard it is to get back into shape. But, I'm very happy with how the races turned out overall! It was good to see where I stand right now, and they're solid times to build off of. They met my expectations at that point. I'm hoping for faster in the future, but it felt great to compete indoors for the first time in a while.

Hopefully, the outdoor season will be a good one; I've been out so many track seasons. What's next for me is hopefully some faster times this outdoor season! I'm also thinking about competing in Kentucky this weekend just to get some more indoor competitions in before the season is completely up, so possibly that too."

Clinton Girls sweep 60m, remain on top

Zharia Bonner was the top Mississippi girl to finish in the 60m dash, coming home from Last Chance with a new lifetime best of 7.76 seconds. Bonner won her heat by over a tenth of a second, snagging fifth place overall.

Not far behind her was her teammate, Tacherria Lawson, who placed eighth overall in 7.80, closing a very consistent string of 60-meter performances from the Clinton junior.

The High School Girl's 60m dash was a strong event for the Mississippi Athletes, as 13 total girls hit the MileSplit Mississippi Second-Team Standard of 8.30 seconds. 

Solid showings from Miss. High School Boys 1600m runners

*Jaheim Bridges and Jaquavion Bryant finishing the 1600m at Last Chane

Photo credits: Katie Shuster

Mississippi distance runners had a strong performance this weekend, placing four athletes in the top 10 and a total of seven under the MileSplit Mississippi First Team indoor standard.

The top finisher from Mississippi was Jaquavion Bryant from Pearl, barely edging out the dynamic Tupelo duo of Jaheim Bridges and Taylor Brown for the bronze position of the podium and the new top time in the state at 4:22.2, a lifetime best for the sophomore. Bridges and Brown ended up placing fourth and sixth, running lifetime bests of 4:22.6 and 4:26.2, respectively.

William Carey signee Benjamin Owens from Madison Central also cracked into the top 10, placing seventh with a time of 4:27.9, while Pearl's Brendan Clark secured a big lifetime best of 4:32.9. Mississippi College signee Gabe McElwain secured a lifetime best of 4:32.9, and Lukas Dykes, headed to Blue Mountain the Fall, broke through the 4:40 barrier in 4:38.0.

To round it out, 8th grader Andrew Brown from Tupelo finished with a time of 4:37.7, giving him the US No. 1 indoor time in his age group. 

RANKINGS: United States 8th-grade Boys 1600m List

Miss. High Jumpers sweep the podium

*Maxiumus Littleton at the 2022 MHSAA 6A North Track and Field Championships

Photo credits: Christian Leach

In a meet traditionally dominated by athletes from Alabama, it's not often you see the top of the leaderboard controlled by the out-of-state crowd.

However, that was not the case in the High School Boy's High Jump, as the top three finishers hailed from the state of Mississippi.

Clinton's Maxiumus Littleton won the event jumping 6'4", while Tylertown's Avery Abram Jr edged out Kingi McNair from Pearl on misses, both jumping 6'2".

Tylertown sprinters shine

The Tylertown sprinters capped off a busy indoor campaign with more jumping and sprinting spectacles.

In the 60-meter dash, Jourdan Clements led the team with a new lifetime best of 7.23.

In the 60mH Kendrell Robertson once again proved his ability with a third-place overall finish at the meet, running an impressive 8.40, the second-best performance all season, only behind his state-leading 8.26 from the MLK Track Classic from earlier this month. He was followed by Clements in a new PR of 8.68, a MS No. 3 mark in Mississippi this season.

Tylertown coach Myreon Sartin commenting on the team performance

"We felt pretty good about the overall team performance. We had a few PR's from the group, but to see them compete with confidence was the most impressive! Some are only 3 weeks in training due to basketball obligations.

There were a few different levels of expectation for the team, for the vets it was a chance to close the season out on a positive note and for some expectations were just to go out and get their feet wet heading into outdoor season! After our post team meeting, they emphasized that they all could've done better but are very optimistic about the outdoor season!"

Hampton breaks seven-second barrier

Omari Hampton has been projected as the top returning sprinter in Mississippi. However, in the indoor season, the seven-second barrier had eluded him. That was until Saturday when he finally broke through with a time of 6.99, good enough for fourth place overall and the No. 1 High School Boys 60m time in Mississippi this season. 

Omari Hampton commenting on his performance at Last Chance

"I wanted a little more. I felt like I could have run faster, but I'm glad I broke the school record. I learned to get out faster in the blocks and get my feet up a little higher, and I can't wait for the outdoor season to start so I can drop my 100-meter and 200-meter times down."

Quick highlights:

Lenasia Drummond exhibited her wide range of athletic abilities as she debuted in the pentathlon. Drummond flexed a time of 8.88 in the 60-meter hurdles, just slightly off her personal best, which holds as the state record. In the Triple Jump, she leaped to a distance of 35-3, taking the win by an inch. Taking two event wins in a day is impressive enough, but she also debuted in the pentathlon. She had an impressive fourth-place finish with a score of 2700, only behind some of the nation's best pentathletes, including Sumrall's Heidi Hudson

READ NEXT: Heidi Hudson #3 U.S. Pentathlon, breaks 2 state records

In the High School Girl's 60-meter hurdles, Columbia High's Katie Gates ran a lifetime best 9.17, securing a runner-up finish at the meet and MS No. 2 ranking in the event only behind the aforementioned Drummond. 

Brookelyn Morgan of Tupelo ran a new lifetime best in the 3200-meter distance 11:36.7, good enough for the bronze at Last Chance. With the performances by Morgan and Santucci, the indoor rankings are now headlined by a Tupelo girl from 800-meters to 3200-meters.

Pearl's Katherine Neal lowered her 1600-meter lifetime best to 5:34.1, securing a MS No. 2 ranking the event behind Santucci.

Meagan Womack, the Mississippi record holder for the High School Girls indoor shot put continued her undefeated season this past weekend with another win at Last Chance. With a throw of 38-04, Womack was just shy of being two feet further than the second-place finisher.

With the conclusion of the Last Chance Invitational, Clinton High School had three girls under the MileSplit Mississippi Second-Team standard in the 60-meter hurdles: Jenesis Williams at 9.42 seconds, Corshunna Hughes at 9.44 seconds, and Kaitlyn Jones at 9.52 seconds. 

The stacked Clinton High School Girl's throwers also hold the top four spots in the High School Girl's Shot Put, with Mississippi state signees Womack and Kaitlyn Walker leading the way. 

RANKINGS: Mississippi High School Girls Indoor Shot Put List

The Clinton girls' sprint relays had themselves a day on Saturday. Clinton holds the state lead in the 4x200 and 4x400. In the 4x200 at the Last Chance #3, Clinton placed first with a time of 1:43. This was two seconds faster than the next team to finish. The Arrows also placed fourth in the 4x400 with a time of 4:15. This is five seconds ahead of Meridian, who is the second-fastest Mississippi 4x400 squad this year.

Clinton's Miguel Bankston finished fourth with a time of 1:58.6, maintaining his status as the top indoor 800-meter runner in Mississippi.

Ethan Belcher from Tupelo vaulted to a new lifetime best of 13 feet, making him the third Mississippian to clear that height this season.

Julian Winters from Madison Central continued his momentum from last outdoor season, throwing his way to the top Shot Put mark in the state with a distance of 47-4.

Pearl's Farren Oberto crushed the 10-minute barrier in the 3200m, running a MS No. 2 mark of 9:47.5. 

Written by: Chris Webber, Editor, Hudson James, Preston Speed, and Chris Bell

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