2023 MSAIS 4A Track & Field State Meet Analysis

VIRTUAL MEET: High School Boys | High School Girls

As the 2023 MSAIS 4A Track and Field Championships approach, athletes from across the state are gearing up to compete for the title of best in their respective events. With a wealth of talent set to take the field, the competition promises to be intense and highly competitive. Here's a preview of the main teams and athletes to watch out for on meet day.

On the boys' side, it's shaping up to be a tight two-way race between Lee Academy and Canton Academy.

Lee Academy boasts a deep squad and looks poised to contend for podium finishes in nearly every event. Their strength lies in the jumps, where they have the potential to sweep the podium in the pole vault, led by Bryan Ray. Nathan Coe and Aidan Byrd of Lee will also look to challenge for victory in the long jump and triple jump, respectively.

Tanner Fava, a sprints specialist for Lee Academy, is expected to be a key leader for the Colts. However, Canton Academy is less than 10 points behind Lee on paper and could potentially take the crown. Canton's Chris Hunter will challenge Fava in the 100m and 200m, while Bert Goodloe looks set to win the 400m with a season-best time of 51.12 and could also challenge for victory in the long jump. His teammate, E.J. Luckett, is the on-paper favorite to take gold in the triple jump and could also podium in the long jump.

On the individual front, St. Joseph Catholic's Roury McCloyen is a force to be reckoned with in the throwing events, and is debatably the best thrower in Mississippi Track and Field history. His recent record-breaking performances in both the Shot Put and Discus have solidified his status as the athlete to watch in the throwing events at the upcoming MSAIS 4A Track and Field Championships. McCloyen is the favorite to win both events, and his presence is sure to make a significant impact on the outcome of the competition. With his impressive track record and unrivaled skill, McCloyen is an athlete that everyone should be watching closely at this year's event.

Centerville Academy's Kameron Willson also stands out as a standout athlete to watch out for. So far this season, he has gone 1:59.22 in the 800m and 4:44.8 in the 1600m, and could potentially take down the MSAIA 4A record in the 800m, which is currently set at 1:58.97 set by Centreville alum Austen Addington.

On the girls' side, Canton Academy is favored to win by 15 points over contender Wayne Academy. An area where Canton will look to dominate the meet is in the distance events, led by Mackenzie Mercer and Sterling Belle Brock. They are expected to score nearly 40 combined points, with Mercer winning the 3200m and Brock potentially making the podium in both the 3200m and 1600m. Canton is also strong in the throws, with Gates Welch looking to challenge for victory in the shot put and discus.

Wayne Academy will present a strong challenge, particularly in the sprints, an area that could ultimately decide the meet. Both teams are expected to score a large amount of points in this discipline, with Wayne Academy slated to score an impressive 40 points.

Wayne Academy's Claire Andersen will look to win the 100m and 100mH, and challenge for the victory in the 400m, while teammate Mallory Golden will contend for the 200m and 100mH. Canton's Mary Alice Holmes is a sprinting sensation and will be crucial for the Panthers, with the ability to win the 400m and podium in the 100m and 200m, totaling over 20 points.

On the individual front, distance standout Charley Rose from Kirk's school is one to watch out for. She could podium in every distance event and is poised to take the crown in the 1600m.

Another athlete to watch out for at the MSAIS 4A State Meet is Amite's Blair Walsh. She is the reigning MSAIS 4A Champion in the Discus and runner-up in the Shot Put, but enters the post-season as the favorite to win both events this season. Walsh's impressive performances throughout the year have put her at the top of the rankings, and she is expected to make a significant impact on the competition. With her strength in the throwing events, Walsh is a formidable opponent and one that other athletes will need to keep an eye on if they hope to take home a state championship in the throwing events.

With the team scores looking so tight, there's no telling what will happen on meet day, but fans can certainly look forward to some staggering performances and nail-biting finishes. As individuals and teams alike look to walk away as the newly crowned MSAIS 4A State Champion, the upcoming competition promises to be one of the most exciting events of the year.