2023 MHSAA 6A Boys Track & Field State Meet Analysis

An exciting slate of competition is set to go underway at the MHSAA 6A Track and Field Championships. Both the girls and the boys competitions will not disappoint, with great athletes and teams going at it to take home the accolades and close their 2023 outdoor season campaigns.

Showdown at the Sprints

The 100m is headlined by freshman sensation Floyd Sinegal, who currently leads MHSAA 6A at 10.55. Senegal is the only athlete in the field with a time under 10.60. While he is the clear favorite to win, he will face some fierce competition as this race will include three other athletes to have run faster than 10.65: Omari Hampton, Kennedy Stringfellow, and Jeffrey Gathright.

Hampton, Stringfellow, and Gathwright all have season bests that are separated by just one-hundredth of a second each. Their times are 10.62, 10.63, and 10.64 respectively. With the closeness in these times and the short length of the race, the podium is completely up for grabs.

The 200m features many of the same faces as the 100m with the likes of Hampton, Gathwright, and Stringfellow, but will also see 400m star from Madison Central, Grayson Foster.

Stringfellow is the favorite to win the 200m as he holds a season-best that is almost a half second faster than anyone else in the race. Behind Stringfellow, it is quite the toss-up for who might take the rest of the podium spots as Gathwright, Hampton, and Barrett all had extremely strong showings this past week at the North/South State Championships.

Unprecedented Talent in Distance Events

The 2023 MHSAA 6A Boys 3200m race features an extraordinary lineup, with every athlete holding a sub-10 3200m time. Colin Brannon leads the pack with a seed time of 9:31.71, but Jaquavion Bryant, who ran 9:31.50 earlier this season, is a strong contender. Last year's runner-up, Jaheim Bridges, has a fresh personal record of 9:32.74. The remaining five athletes have season bests in the 9:30s, except for Pearl's Farren Oberto at 9:42.84.

This talented field could produce the fastest 3200m race in state history. However, with most athletes participating in other events later in the day, a more tactical race is possible, with times potentially slower than their season bests. Regardless, the exceptional talent in this field promises an exhilarating 3200m race.

The MHSAA 6A Boys 1600m race is similarly competitive, with less than four seconds separating the seed times of the top four athletes. Gavin Wheat holds the fastest seed time at 4:31.95, while state leader Jaquavion Bryant enters the race with a season-best 4:15.66. Bridges, last year's MHSAA 6A Champion in the 1600m, is also a top contender with a season-best of 4:26.01.

This race has significant implications for team standings, as Pearl's three entered runners-Bryant, Tanner Moore, and Brendan Clark-could determine the standings between Pearl and Clinton.

The boys' 1600m final features a wealth of talent and big names, setting the stage for either an exciting tactical showdown or lightning-fast times. As one of the day's most anticipated races, it's sure to be a memorable event.

Individuals to Watch

Clinton's Omari Hampton will double in the 100m and 200m with a fantastic chance to make the podium or even win both events.

Starkville's Sterling Scott will look to defend his MHSAA 6A titles in both the Long Jump and Triple Jump. Scott has the triple jump on lock as he is the state record holder and the USA's No. 5 ranked in the event. However, the long jump title will be a challenge to defend with the recent success of Clinton's Maxiumus Littleton and Brandon's Kennedy Stringfellow.

The state record holder in Pole Vault, John Scott Kendricks, will look to claim his second straight MHSAA 6A Championship. Considering Kendricks has not lost a pole vault competition since he was a sophomore, he should have no troubles on Saturday.

Grayson Foster of Madison Central is the current MHSAA 6A leader in the 400m with a time of 48.32. Foster is the favorite to win the 400m and will make some noise in the 200m final as well.

Tanner Moore is one of Mississippi's top 800m runners in nearly a decade at 1:54.14. Moore also made the 1600m final with a time of 4:32.34. The Pearl Junior is looking to take home his first-ever individual state title in either event he is racing in.

Miguel Bankston is competing for his second straight MHSAA 6A title in the 800m, as he won last year with a time of 1:55.94. However, Bankston will have to go through 1:54 800m runner Tanner Moore to do so.

Connor Mozee should have no doubts about winning the discus title since he just came off a personal best of 181-10 at the MHSAA 6A South State Championships. 

Ken Andrews of Clinton and Julian Winters of Madison Central are the two heavyweights in shot put this year, both throwing for more than fifty feet. This competition is going to be vital as their placement will play a major role in the final team standings.

Jonathan Henderson of Warren Central is the current favorite for the high jump at 6-10, but he will face the powers of Tyler Nichols and Maxiumus Littleton. If Henderson can pull out the win, it will work in Pearl's favor taking major points away from Clinton.

Pearl vs. Clinton in team battle

The MHSAA 6A North State and South State meets were relatively reflective of each other in the team standings as one team dominated the others. 

North State was ruled by Clinton as they won with 156 points- 59 points ahead of the next team (Madison Central). Led by the versatile athletes mentioned above, Clinton has a strong sprint and field squad, along with multiple relay teams with a chance of making the podium.

South State was owned by Pearl as they held a commanding victory with 161 points- 87 points ahead of the next team (Meridian). Pearl is held up by an extremely strong distance squad that qualified multiple athletes in the 3200m, 1600m, and 800m. They also are home to the state's No. 1 4x800 crew and No. 2 4x400 crew.

There are several athletes for both teams that have the potential to podium and score major points for their team, but the competition across virtually all events is cutthroat. Every single point will be vital to determining the team's score.

Some of the most important events that will decide the team standings are the shot put, high jump, long jump, 100m, 200m, 800m, and 1600m. Every placement will contribute towards crowning the state champion. There will even be influence from athletes unrelated to either team like Warren Central's Jonathan Henderson and Kennedy Stringfellow shaking up Clinton's jumps squad or the 1600m and 3200m fields against Pearl.

It will be a clash of the Jackson Metro Area's top teams in a dogfight for the MHSAA 6A State Championship.