Mississippi high school track and field fans are in for a treat this week as several exciting events take place across the state. From Meridian to Columbus, from Tylertown to Washington School, some of the best athletes in the state will be competing to showcase their skills and move up the rankings.
Starting off at the East Mississippi Showdown, hosted by Meridian High School, fans can expect some fierce competition from local athletes such as Jeffrey Gathright and Meridian's own hurdling specialist. Gathright, one of the top sprinters in MHSAA, headlines the HS Boys 100m and 200m dash, while the hurdling specialist Daniel Hill, also from Meridian, is ranked inside the top 10 in Mississippi in both the 110mH and 300mH. Russell Brooks, another Meridian athlete, will be looking to improve his No. 6 state ranking in the Shot Put.
In the distance events, West Lauderdale's Emily Snodgrass and Meridian's Brianna Brown will be headlining the competition. The big question is whether Meridian can defend their home turf against the fierce competition.
At the Maverick Quad Meet hosted by Germantown, Wingfield's Tyler Arrington is poised to sweep the short sprints, while Germantown's Josh Will and Kohl Griffin will try to defend their house against Neshoba's Evan Hallford in the Varsity Boys 3200m run. Warren Central's Jonathan Henderson, ranked No. 3 in the state, will be looking to improve his high jump, while Darius Fuller of Warren Central and Wade Estess of Germantown are set for a close battle.
On the girls' side, MHSAA 6A standout Ashlyn Robinson of Germantown is one of the top sprinters in Mississippi and is likely to secure her first wins of the season in the Varsity Girls 100m and 200m.
Meanwhile, at the Golden Triangle Showdown hosted by MHSAA 5A powerhouse Columbus High School, Khristan Watson, the reigning MHSAA 5A High Jump Champion, will attempt the 110mH and High Jump double. Starkville's Giles Jones and Scott McDonnell are expected to sweep the distance events, while Grady Stewart is coming off a fourth-place finish at the Southern Miss High School Invitational and is the No. 1 seed in the Varsity Boys 400m dash.
At the Canton Academy Early Bird Invitational, watch out for Bert Goodloe, who highlights the boys' entries with a lifetime best of 50.85 seconds in the 400m dash. Brayden Warner, the top discus thrower in the MSAIS and ranked third in Mississippi, is also undefeated and will look to continue his winning streak.
In the girls' events, Lindsey Hogue, a standout in MSAIS 3A, will face tough competition from middle school star Emma Raines of East Rankin in the HS Girls 1600m run. Leah Collipp will try to take the HS Girls 3200m run, while MSAIS Champion Hannah Ware of Winona Christian will compete in the HS Girls 400m dash. East Rankin's Emily Williams and Lydia Collipp will battle it out in the HS Girls 800m run.
Lukas Dykes of Mooreville looks to sweep the distance events at the New Albany Invitational, but the reigning MHSAA 1A 800m and 1600m Champion Bounds Simmons will be right on his tail. Also keep an eye out for MHSAA 4A standout hurdler Carson Fowler in the boys' hurdles, and Carmen Owen of Pontotoc in the girls' sprints.
Moving on to the Generals Relays, hosted by Washington School, Roury McCloyen, the debatably best thrower in Mississippi High School Track and Field history, is set to open up his season in the Shot Put and Discus ring. Jackson Prep's William Laird, 4:39 miler Elliot Davis, and reigning MSAIS 6A 800m Champion will also be in attendance, as well as two-time MSAIS sprints champion Cruz Oguz, who will look to sweep the sprints in his 2023 season opener.
Fans can also expect an exciting duel in the HS Girls 3200m run between Jackson Prep's Rachel Rutledge and host school favorite Lawton Poole of Washington School. Poole is also entered in the HS Girls 800m, where she will face off against Olivia Smith and Gracie Atkinson, both Lady Patriots. Prep's Taylor Caton, the reigning MSAIS 6A Champion in the Discus, is looking to sweep the throws.
There you have it, folks! With so many talented athletes competing this week, there's sure to be plenty of excitement on the track and in the field.
Stay tuned for results and highlights from this week's meets!