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The stage is set for the highly-anticipated 2023 MHSAA 5A Track and Field Championships, to be held at Pearl High School on Friday, May 5. Fans and athletes alike eagerly await the thrilling competition that will showcase the finest talent in Mississippi high school sports.
The MHSAA Track and Field Championships will bring together athletes from across the state, and as the event looms closer, MileSplit Mississippi is here to provide an in-depth preview of the must-see events and athletes to watch.
Brookhaven Girls Lead MHSAA 5A State Meet Rankings, Hattiesburg Looms as a Threat
The Brookhaven High School girls' team is poised to dominate the MHSAA 5A State Meet, thanks to their depth and talent in the relay, distance, and hurdles events. However, Hattiesburg High School has the potential to pull off a surprise victory on state meet day.
Brookhaven's hurdles crew, led by Chrisiyona Quarles, sets the team apart from other schools. Quarles leads the 5A girls in the 300m hurdles and showcases her speed in the 100m hurdles and 200m dash. With the combined efforts of Quarles, Sierra Edwards, and Zyquevia Winters, the Brookhaven hurdles squad is projected to score a staggering 36 points at the upcoming MHSAA 5A Track and Field Championships, narrowly surpassing the Columbus High School throws crew's 35 projected points.
Additionally, Brookhaven's relay teams are expected to score big with a win in the 4x800m and a podium finish in the 4x100m. The distance runners should not be underestimated, as they are set to score between two and six points each, netting a total of 28 points for the team. The Lady Panthers' performance in these three areas alone could challenge the projected second-place team, Hattiesburg High School.
However, the possibility of a Hattiesburg upset should not be dismissed. Spearheaded by eighth-time MHSAA 5A Champion Lenasia Drummond, the team's top scorer, Hattiesburg could pull off a hat trick in the jumps events, with wins in the triple, long, and high jumps, as well as a podium finish in the 200m. Drummond's efforts could earn her team a massive 36 points, placing them in a comfortable runner-up position and within striking distance of Brookhaven. Hattiesburg's sprint relays in the 4x400m and 4x200m could add two more wins and 20 points, with additional points coming from the 4x100m and 4x800m. Every point Hattiesburg scores increases their chances of coming from behind and clinching victory.
As the MHSAA 5A Track and Field Championships approach, the competition between Brookhaven and Hattiesburg promises to be a thrilling showdown, with both teams showcasing incredible talent.
Callaway and Ridgeland set for Fierce Battle
The race for state champions in the MHSAA 5A boys' division will be nothing short of a dogfight, with Callaway High School holding a slight edge over Ridgeland High School. However, the Titans of Ridgeland will be hot on the heels of the Chargers from Callaway, ensuring an action-packed meet where neither team can afford to give an inch.
Callaway's strong sprints program is anchored by Kendarius Wade, who is chasing an individual state title in the 100m and aiming for a podium finish in the 200m. The Chargers' sprint relays have the potential to place anywhere from first to third in a highly competitive field, giving them the tiny edge they need. Rkhyzon Cleveland and Demarcus Brown will be key contributors to Callaway's efforts in the hurdles and jumps, battling for gold medals in the 300m hurdles and pole vault, respectively. We also can't forget about sophomore Jeremiah Austin, coming off a big win at the recent MHSAA 5A North State Championships.
On the other hand, Ridgeland High relies on its diverse talents to close the small point gap and potentially secure victory. The Titans are poised to score in every category except the hurdles, with a minimum of ten points, and these precious points can accumulate quickly. The relay and distance squads will be crucial to Ridgeland's success. Tylar Ross leads the distance crew, with potential podium finishes in the 800m and 1600m, while Romen Williams and Jamari Page fight for more points in the hurdles and jumps. Williams aims for a podium finish in the triple jump, and Page, one of the best short hurdlers in the state, has his sights set on defending his MHSAA 5A title in the 110m hurdles.
As the MHSAA 5A Boys' State Championship approaches, the intense rivalry between Callaway High School and Ridgeland High School promises a thrilling competition.
Individual Athletes to Watch
Apart from the top contenders mentioned in the team previews, several individual athletes are expected to make a significant impact on the girls' side of the MHSAA 5A state meet.
Cierra Crusoe from Columbus High School is aiming to become the champion in both the shot put and discus events, building on her third-place finish in the shot put from last year's MHSAA 5A Track and Field Championships. Valencia Watson of Ridgeland High School has been lighting up the track with Mississippi No. 1 times in both the 100m and 200m, while Hannah Mitchell, a William Carey distance signee, is pursuing a triple crown in the 800m, 1600m, and 3200m, following the footsteps of Long Beach's Brooklyn Biancamano and cap off her senior year.
On the boys' side, several athletes are looking to make a name for themselves. Canton High School's Antoine Spillman seeks to sweep the 200m and 400m, while Brookhaven High School's Brodie Ezelle is eyeing a double win in the discus and shot put. Javarius Molden from Hattiesburg High School will challenge Jamari Page and Rkhyzon Cleveland in the 110m hurdles and 300m hurdles. Finally, Landon Ahrens from Long Beach High School aims to make his mark in the 800m and 1600m events.
As the MHSAA 5A State Meet approaches, these individual athletes will be ones to watch, showcasing their exceptional skills and determination in pursuit of their respective goals.