Talk of the Town: Beginning of MHSAA Divisions

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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 all of the hot track and field news from the MHSAA Division Meets, as well as the MSAIS historic duel between Jackson Prep's Olivia Smith and Madison Ridgeland's Riz McBride

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

Kendricks Clears the 17-Foot Barrier for the Second Time This Season

Performance: At the MHSAA Division 1-6A meet, defending MHSAA 6A Champion John Scott Kendricks of Oxford High School clears 17 feet even to win the event. This was Kendricks' second time soaring over a 17-foot bar this season. 

For the Record: Only two athletes in Mississippi history have cleared the 17-foot barrier in the Pole Vault. The first to do it was Sam Kendricks, who boasts an impressive resumé that includes two berths to the Olympic Games, a 2017 World Championships Gold Medal, and the American record in the event, and the second is his younger brother, John Scott.

The younger Kendricks has already bested his brother's Mississippi state record; now the only question will be how much higher he will take it.

The Scoop: Unbeaten since the 2021 MHSAA 6A Track and Field Championships, it is clear that John Scott Kendricks is now in a league of his own, competing against both himself and his brother's legacy to become the undisputed best high school Pole Vaulter in Mississippi history.

Can John Scott continue his winning ways and capture another state title to become even with his brother Sam's two titles? And how much higher can he jump?

Kendricks currently sits at a best of 17-0.75, a Mississippi record and a height that places him 3rd on the national rankings this season. It would be hard to think that we have seen all that Kendricks has to offer, and we will be on the lookout for how this young star will close out his high school career.

Smith, McBride take 1-2 at Raider Park and in the state

Performance: Jackson Prep's Olivia Smith and MRA's Riz McBride ran head to head at the Jackson Academy Relays in the Varsity Girls 800m run. Smith won with a time of 2:21.6 and McBride finished in a close second, finishing at 2:24.2.

For the Record: Olivia Smith and Riz McBride both set massive personal bests, breaking their previous marks by two and four seconds respectively. Smith strengthens her hold on the top of the leaderboard in the Girls 800m and breaks Savannah McIntosh's previous class record. McBride not only jumped up to second in the state, but she became the No. 2 seventh grader in the nation and the first seventh grader in Mississippi to ever break 2:25 in the event.

The Scoop: The MSAIS 6A Girls 800m Championship race is shaping up to be a good one. This classification, made up of only six teams, currently has the Mississippi No. 1 and No. 2 in the event. Both ran lifetime bests, provided a very entertaining race throughout, and the one finishing runner up in that race became the best seventh grader to run 800 meters in Mississippi.  

Although McBride has bested Smith in cross country, she has not yet beaten the Jackson Prep star on the outdoor oval. Tuesday continued that trend, as Olivia Smith remains the only person to have beaten Riz McBride on the track this season.

However, anything can happen with a rivalry such as this one that matters so much individually as well as for both of their respective teams. Will McBride finally get one over on Smith? Will one of these runners be the first to break 2:20 this season? Could Morgan Claire Rose's MSAIS record be in either of these runner's sights?

The sky's the limit for both of these runners and it will be fun to watch.

Floyd Sinegal burst onto the sprints scene at the MHSAA Division 3-6A meet.

Performance: At the MHSAA 3-6A Championships, Floyd Sinegal of Horn Lake High School ran a 0.28 second PR to take an event win in the 100-meter dash in a time of 10.55. Additionally,  Sinegal added another lifetime best of 21.81 in the 200-meter, making it two wins on the day. 

For the Record: This skyrockets Floyd into the second spot of the rankings for the 100 meter dash and ranks him the fastest freshman in the state of Mississippi over the last decade in the event. Additionally, his performance in the 200m moves him to number five in the state rankings. 

The School: This was Sinegal's first ever time under 22 seconds in the 200-meter dash, which resulted in an event win, but perhaps the more impressive feat was his event win in the 100m. Because of this performance, He now leads MHSAA 6A and sits second in the overall rankings to only Carlando Crump of Senatobia High school.

Floyd has without a doubt established himself as a serious contender at the upcoming state meet and is certainly a strong pick to take the state championship in 6A this year in the 100m. He may only a freshman, but he has potential to win the state championship multiple times throughout his high school career.

All in all, the future is bright for this freshmen from Horn Lake High School.

Performance: At the MHSAA Division 4-6A & 3-5A Meet, Clinton's Kaitlyn Jones ran a lifetime best of 15.07 in the 100m Hurdles to place second overall, as well as a lifetime best of 44.43 in the 300m Hurdles to win the event. 

For the record: Jones, the runner-up in the 300m Hurdles at last year's MHSAA 6A Track and Field Championships, is now tied for the state lead in her specialty event, as well as moving to a No. 8 ranking in the 100-meter Hurdles. Additionally, The Clinton sophomore sensation is now ranked in the top 100 in the 300m Hurdles nationally.

Lastly, this is the tenth fastest time from a Mississippi prep in the last decade following Jerricka Ambus, Sydney Davis, and others, with No. 1 dating back to Clinton's Monica Mosley in 2015. 

The Scoop: As the anticipation builds for the MHSAA 6A Track and Field Championships, one can't help but marvel at the formidable force that Clinton High School's Lady Arrows have become. With eyes on the prize, the talented trio of hurdlers, led by the determined Jones, are more than ready to take the competition by storm.

Jones, who's poised to potentially claim her first-ever MHSAA 6A title, has shown tremendous growth toward's the latter half of her season. 

Yet, the story doesn't end there. The Lady Arrows boast a deep roster with hurdlers who are equally as impressive. Jenesis Williams, a training partner of Jones and talented hurdler in her own right, is also gunning for a spot on the podium. 

Corshunna Hughes, yet another member of this lethal Clinton hurdling squad, joins Jones in the pursuit of a first-ever MHSAA 6A title in the 100-meter hurdles. Hughes, the 2022 Mississippi Track and Field Meet of Champions winner, is eager to showcase her skills on the grandest stage of them all.

As the MHSAA 6A Track and Field Championships draw near, it's clear that the Lady Arrows are a team to watch.

Sterling Scott Nearly Cracks 51-feet Barrier

Performance: In the High School Boys' Triple Jump, Starkville's Sterling Scott, the Indoor Triple Jump State Record Holder, jumped 50-11 at the MHSAA Division 1-6A Championships to nearly crack the 51-foot barrier. 

For the Record: Scott is building off his memorable indoor season with an outdoor campaign for the record books. The University of Missouri signee now ranks as the current in No. 2 triple-jumper in the United States.

The Scoop: Scott swept the MHSAA Division 1-6A meet, winning both the Long Jump and Triple Jump. At the 2022 MHSAA 6A Track and Field Championships, the Starkville senior took gold in both of the horizontal jump events. This year,  he has done nothing but improve.

At upcoming MHSAA 6A Track and Field Championships, the Triple Jump seems to be his for the taking.However, the competition has stiffened in the Long Jump with the likes of Kennedy Stringfellow, Maxiumus Littleton, and Tyler Nichols.

Scott is hands-down one of the best Triple Jumpers in the nation, and it will be exciting to see if he decides to compete at a post-season national meet as he has in the past. 

Middle School Sensation Andrew Brown Runs 4:28 1600m in Stacked Division

Performance: In the High School Boys 1600-meter run, Tupelo's Andrew Brown, a 2-time Adidas Indoor Track National Champion in the Junior High division, ran 4:28.90 at the MHSAA Division 1-6A Championships.

For the Record: Brown is by far the fastest eighth-grade miler in the state, but he is now the No. 5 miler of any grade in the state. Nationally, Brown now ranks No. 2 for his class.

The Scoop: With Brown's performance at the MHSAA Division 1-6A, he has solidified himself as a real contender to podium at MHSAA 6A State. At what was possibly the most competitive 1600m division race in Mississippi history, Brown placed a close second to the defending state champion. While his age is mentioned often, the times that Brown is running are truly incredible for him being as young as he is. The Tupelo phenom is building himself up for a historic high-school career.

Heidi Hudson to go for 400m-LJ-HJ Triple

Performance: Sumrall High's Heidi Hudson ran 1:02.03 to win the 400m, jumped 5-06 in the high jump and 19-03 in the long jump at the 2023 MHSAA 7-2A and 7-4A Championships.

For the Record: Alongside her debut performance in the 400m, Hudson's mark of 19-03 ranks her second in the state, and she continues to comfortably lead state rankings in the high jump, where she has consistently jumped 5-06 or higher throughout the season. 

The Scoop: A recent Western Carolina commit, Heidi Hudson is known for her versatility. Having competed in events ranging from the jumps to hurdles to middle distance, she has proven she has the potential to be a fantastic heptathlete.

This weekend marked her opening performance in the 400m, and undoubtedly, she has potential to push the 60 second barrier over the quarter-mile. To no one's surprise, she dominated the jumps as well. Covering over 19 feet in the long jump, she was nearly four feet ahead of the next competitor, and she cracked into the Top 10 Mississippi All-time rankings at 9th. In the high jump, perhaps her strongest event, she jumped 5-06, a half-foot higher than second place. Having already leaped 5-11 this season, she is the state record holder in the event and is ranked 2nd in the nation, only an inch shy of the No. 1 position.

Watch out for Hudson to continue to rewrite Mississippi track and field history as she is storming into the postseason with momentum in her favor.

Zharia Bonner opens up postseason with state-lead 100m

Performance: In the High School Girls 100m dash, Clinton High School's Zharia Bonner, the new current state leader in the event, ran 11.92 to secure her the win in the MHSAA 4-6A division at the MHSAA Division 4-6A & 3-5A meet.

For the Record: Only two Mississippi girls have gone under sub-12 this season in the 100m dash: Zharia Bonner and Ridgeland High School's Valencia Watson. Along with this, Bonner's performance places her #22 of all time in the state of Missisisppi.

The Scoop: In her first postseason race, William Carey commit Zharia Bonner delivers the best performance of her career in the 100m dash at the MHSAA Division 4-6A & 3-5A meet, granting her the win and a new state-lead in the event.

In Bonner's career, this was her first time ever going sub-12 in the 100m dash, shattering her old personal record by .23 of a second. Not only did Bonner set a personal record in the 100m dash, but she also ran a personal record in the 200m dash on the same day, with a time of 25.37. Bonner's 11.92 in the 100m dash places her at No. 1 in the state rankings in the 100m dash, as well as cementing herself a top 25 performance of all time in the state.

With Bonner's performance in the 100m dash at the divisional meet, there is no telling that she will continue to dominant in the event as her postseason campaign continues.