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In part two of our Week Ahead preview, we take a closer look at the remaining five meets: the Falcon Relays, the Golden Wave Invitational, the Riley Walker Relays, and the Vicksburg High Invitational.
READ PART ONE HERE
The 100m and 200m dash events will feature a thrilling face-off between MHSAA 4A 400m Champion Cooper Rodgers from Raymond High School and MHSAA 2A 200m Champion Damian Spencer of Hazlehurst High School. Rodgers currently leads the state in the 400m with a time of 47.61 seconds and is expected to dominate the event.
Raymond High School's Tavon Davis is also set to make a strong showing in the 800m and 1600m races, likely securing victories in both.
In the field events, Hazlehurst's Sentario Willis, the reigning MHSAA 3A Triple Jump Champion, will showcase his skills in his specialty event, aiming for another victory.
Turning to the ladies' side of things, recent Middle School National Champion Charve Gibson will compete in the 100m dash, 200m dash, and 300m hurdles. She will face stiff competition in the short sprints from Hazlehurst's Harmony Neal and Magee High School's Nicole Sandifer, both of whom have impressive track resumes.
Turning our attention to the Falcon Relays in Columbus, MS, where an array of talented athletes will showcase their talents in several events.
Jeffery Gathright, fresh off a significant victory at the MHS Big Blue Invitational, is set to headline the short sprints at the Falcon Relays. Meanwhile, fellow Meridian Wildcat, Daniel Hill, is expected to sweep the hurdles. MHSAA 5A distance running standout Evan Hallford will make his 2023 season debut in the 3200m run, drawing attention from fans and competitors alike.
Columbus High's Khristan Watson, the reigning MHSAA 5A High Jump Champion, is another athlete to watch after his recent victory at the Gulf Shores St. Patrick's Day Meet. Watson will compete in his specialty event and is poised for a fierce 110mH battle with the aforementioned Daniel Hill of Meridian.
Deroyce Williams from Columbus High, currently ranked as the No. 6 performer in the High School Boys Long Jump in Mississippi, will lead the field in that event. Meridian's Russell Brooks, the No. 1 seed, is a notable entry in the High School Boys Shot Put.
On the girls' side, Maine Lund of South Panola, a strong and versatile MHSAA 6A distance runner, is entered in the High School Girls 800m, 1600m, and 3200m run. Her teammate, Samyra Wright, remains undefeated in the 400m dash this season and will attempt to continue her winning streak at the Falcon Relays. Finally, Columbus High's Cierra Crusoe, the Meet of Champions Shot Put Champion with five wins this season, is likely to add two more victories to her tally following the Falcon Relays.
Down on the coast at the Riley Walker Relays in Bay St. Louis, MS, D'Iberville's Marquise Washington, a MHSAA 6A standout who is undefeated in the 100m dash this year, will try and keep that streak going. Fellow Warrior Josiah Rayford also boasts an undefeated streak in the 300mH, aiming to keep it alive at the event. D'Iberville could potentially secure three major wins, as Adrian Miles, the current No. 7 ranked Discus thrower in Mississippi, enters the competition as the No. 1 seed. However, he'll face stiff competition from West Harrison's Evan Turan and Bracken Bertrum.
Keep an eye on Picayune's Tyran Warren, who might break into the top five in the Mississippi High School Boys Long Jump rankings. Hancock's Jaden Talbot has an undefeated streak to defend in the Pole Vault, entering the event as the No. 1 seed. MHSAA 6A 400m qualifier Iyana Washington of D'Iberville will make her debut in the event, generating excitement among fans.
On the girls' side, watch out for West Harrison's Tiona Frick, a 2:25 performer in the High School Girls 800m run. Aryn Eady, a big-time thrower in MHSAA 6A, is likely to sweep the throws, while Teairra Lee has a strong chance of winning the High School Girls High Jump, entering the competition with a lifetime best of 5-2. Long Beach's Mya Shaffer could potentially sneak into the top five in the Mississippi High School Girls Long Jump rankings.
Going back up north to the Golden Wave Invitational in Tupelo, MS, the HS Boys 1600m is stacked with the likes of Jaheim Bridges, Taylor Brown, and Gabe McElwain, and all three could have a go at the 4:20 1600m barrier. Brown and McElwain will double back for the HS Boys 800m run, and will be joined by reigning MHSAA 1A 1600m Champion Bounds Simmons of TCPS.
Oxford's John Scott Kendricks will have another go at the Mississippi State record, and it's worth noting that what he has already accomplished at this point of the season is incredible; Two indoor state records, an undefeated season thus far, a signing with the University of Arkansas, and is still ranked No. 1 in the nation in the High School Boys Pole Vault.
Caledonia's Micah O'Daniel is another notable entry, likely aiming for a spot in the top five in Mississippi in the High School Boys Triple Jump.
On the girls' side, the 2 x MHSAA 6A Champion will headline the High School Girls 1600m event but should keep an eye on the 5 x MHSAA 3A Champion Emily Ireland. Fans will also witness a showdown in the High School Girls 800m run, featuring Tupelo High's Sophie Santucci and Kaelyn Fair, as well as Tupelo Christian's Anna Bishop Powell, to determine the best 800m runner in Tupelo. Lastly, TCPS's Lauren Tate, a versatile MHSAA 1A athlete, will be one to watch in multiple events at the Golden Wave Invitational.
In the final part of our Week Ahead series, we focus on the Vicksburg High School Invitational in Vicksburg, MS, which features several notable athletes competing in various events.
Warren Central's Jonathan Henderson and Vicksburg's Tyler Henderson are both set to make an impact in the jumping events, showcasing their major talent as jumpers.
In the short sprints, Warren Central's Adria Burrell is an athlete to watch, as she could potentially add two more victories to her resume. Also keep an eye on Vicksburg's Layla Carter, who is considered one of the best female triple jumpers in Mississippi.
MHSAA 5A 400m standout enters the competition as the No. 1 seed in her specialty event, the High School Girls 400m dash, promising a thrilling performance. Another jumper to watch is Vicksburg's Rodrianna Hall, who is expected to make a strong showing at the event.
With these remarkable Mississippi Track and Field athletes in action, the Vicksburg High School Invitational promises to be an enthralling event. As we wrap up our Week Ahead series, we wish all the competitors the best of luck and look forward to the exciting outcomes across all five meets!