Talk of the Town: Historic marks in Mobile

Welcome to this week's edition of the MileSplit Mississippi Monday Morning Recap, your one-stop shop for all the latest Mississippi Track and Field news!

In today's article, we will discuss the results from the prestigious Mobile Challenge of Champions, Emerson Yelverton asserting herself as one of the best middle school preps in the country,  Meagan Womack climbing up the all-time lists, and much, much more.

Read on to get your weekly dose of excitement, inspiration, and updates from the world of Mississippi Track and Field.

Moore Runs 2nd-Fastest 800m in Miss. in the Last Decade

Performance: In the High School Boys 800-meter run, Pearl's Tanner Moore, the current state leader in the 800m, ran 1:54.14 to place second at the Mobile Challenge of Champions.

For the Record: Only two Mississippi athletes have run under 1:55 in the 800m in the past decade: Christian Balcer and now Tanner Moore.

The Scoop: Tanner Moore continued his hot streak in the 800m at the Mobile Challenge of Champions.

This is just the second time that Moore has ever gone under 2:00, both of which were in Alabama. Moore placed second by just one one-hundredth of a second to Evan Wrights of St. Paul's Episcopal, who is committed to run at Mississippi College in the Fall.

Moore is now No. 4 all-time in Mississippi for the 800m. His time of 1:54.14 is over three seconds faster than Mississippi's next-fastest this year. While the MHSAA 6A 800m title race will still be exhilarating, it's safe to say that Moore has established himself as the favorite to grab his first-ever MHSAA 6A title. 

Yelverton makes 800m statement at Mobile Challenge of Champions

Performance: Emerson Yelverton of Biloxi High ran 2:24.87 in the 800m at the 2023 Mobile Challenge of Champions.

For the Record: Currently, this marks Yelverton as the Mississippi No. 2 800m runner, and the top athlete in the class of 2027. Additionally, she she now sits fifth nationally in 8th-grade 800m rankings.

The Scoop: This effort is arguably one of the most impressive middle distance performances so far this season.

As an eighth grader, Yelverton not only finds herself as the top in her class statewide, but also leads MHSAA 6A. Shaking things up in the middle distance scene, this is an exciting precursor to a possible showdown in the MHSAA 6A 800m. She has proven her the potential to capture a state title, and Yelverton could be in the first eighth grader to take the MHSAA 6A 800m crown in nearly a decade.

Keep an eye out for her as she continues to make some noise in Mississippi and in the eighth grade scene nationwide.

Stringfellow remains undefeated, nationally ranked in Long Jump

Performance: At the Fleet Feet Track Classic, Brandon High's Kennedy Stringfellow ran a lifetime best of 10.63 in the 100m, 21.34 in the 200m, as well as a lifetime best in the Long Jump with a mark of 24-4 to win all three events. 

For the Record: Stringfellow, last year's MHSAA 6A runner-up in the Long Jump, now holds the state lead in the Long Jump, as well as a No. 3 ranking in the 100m and a No. 2 in the 200m. The Brandon senior is also ranked ninth in the Long Jump nationally.

Additionally, this is the second furthest mark in the Long Jump from a Mississippi prep in the last decade - Number one is current Mississippi State athlete Cameron Crump, who qualified for the 2020 Olympic Trials. 

The Scoop: Thanks to Stringfellow's undefeated streak, he should be carrying a lot of momentum as the season starts to close and focus on the State Championships. He will be faced with some very good competition in the 6A field for his 3 main events as he battles to take home first in each one. He should be confident in his Long Jump ability, and it looks as though it will be 10 points going toward the Bulldogs at this current point in the season.

Moreover, Stringfellow has the current MHSAA 6A lead in the 200m, and will definitely be challenged by Justice Moore of Pearl High School. Also, don't forget about Omari Hampton of Clinton High School, the reigning MHSAA 6A 100m and 200m Champion who leads class MHSAA 6A class ahead of Stringfellow by a mere 0.01 seconds in the 200m.

Definitely keep an eye out for him as the season closes to see if he will keep the undefeated streak alive and if he will take home each win at the State Championships.

Womack Continues to Climb Up All-time Rankings, No.2 in SP

Performance: In the High School Girls shot put, Clinton's Meagan Womack, the current state leader in shot put and discus, heaved the Shot Put 43-1 to win the invite section at the Mobile Challenge of Champions.

For the Record: Womack has now moved up to No. 2 all-time in Mississippi for the shot put. She also ranks No.3 in discus.

The Scoop: Meagan Womack is cementing herself as one of the best throwers in Mississippi history.

So far through her senior season, the Mississippi State commit has not lost a single competition across indoor or outdoor. She is having one of the most dominant seasons of any athlete that the state has ever seen. It is a no-brainer that she is favored to win MHSAA 6A, but the real question is if Womack can snag the state record in shot put.

She is only 6 inches away from the current shot put record that sits at 43-7.

Bryant Regains 1600m State Lead at Mobile Challenge of Champions

Performance: In the High School Boys one-mile run, Pearl's Jaquavion Bryant, the 2022 MHSAA 6A Cross Country State Champion, ran 4:17.15 for the full mile to place sixth overall among a stacked field at the Mobile Challenge of Champions.

For the Record: Bryant's performance converts to a 4:15.66 1600m. This ranks him No. 1 in Mississippi this year and No. 3 in the last decade, only behind to Christian Balcer and Keegan Leverett

The Scoop: Jaquavion Bryant has had one of the best seasons of any Mississippi distance runner in recent memory.

The Pearl sophomore is on a roll with a personal best in every 1600m/one-mile race he has competed in this year. He is the favorite for MHSAA 6A, but as it has been said before, it will be interesting to see how some of North Mississippi's powers will fare against Bryant.

The matchup that the whole state wants to see is Bryant vs Sidney Stegall. These two have been back and forth this year over the state lead - Could we see this matchup at the upcoming Woody Barnett Invitational?

Performance: Ashton Rainey of Ocean Springs blazed a fifteen-second (converted) lifetime best in the 3200m of 11:27.0f for the full 2-mile at the Invite section of the Mobile Challenge of Champions. The Ocean Springs senior placed second in a highly competitive field where eight athletes broke 12 minutes for the full 2-mile. 

For the Record: Rainey soared up the state rankings and now sits atop Mississippi in the 3200m.  Rainey is one of six high school girls who have broken 12 minutes for the 3200m this season, and the only one to go under 11:30. 

The Scoop: Ashton Rainey, a Lamar University distance signee, has officially made a statement to the rest of MHSAA 6A Girls distance running. She now leads MHSAA 6A by 10 seconds over Tupelo's Brookelyn Morgan, the back-to-back defending MHSAA 6A Champion in the 3200m. 

Could Rainey grab her first-ever MHSAA 6A title and dethrone the MHSAA 6A 3200m queen from Tupelo? Or will Morgan prove too formidable of a competitor?

Cooper Rodgers continues to dominate 200m & 400m

Performance: At the Bulldog relay showcase, Raymond's Cooper Rodgers ran a lifetime best of 21.07 in the 200m, as well as a 400m time of 48.38 to win both events. 

For the Record: Rodgers, the reigning MHSAA 4A 400m Champion, now owns the state lead in the 200m and the 400m, as well as a rank of 9th in the 100m. The Raymond junior is also ranked 72nd in the 200m and 15th in the 400m nationally. Lastly this is the 2nd fastest 400m time from a Mississippi prep in the last decade, next to only Kristopher Moore

The Scoop: Cooper Rodgers has a genuine chance to score at three different events at the state meet and potentially even win two of them outright regardless of class.

Appearing to be in a league of his own in the 400, the only question we can ask is can someone track him down in the 200m where he also sits atop in the state by 0.27 seconds. With Rodgers being only a junior one of the questions that's exciting to ask is if he next year may be able to break a 14 year state record set by Tavaris Tate in 2009 with a time of 45.48.

Rodgers will definitely be one to watch as we near the postseason this year and in the future.