Meet Preview: 2023 RunningLane Track Championships

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As the sultry Mississippi summer heats up, so does the anticipation for the RunningLane Track Championships.

This year, Mississippi's finest athletes are primed to light up the track in Huntsville, each bearing the hopes of the Magnolia State. From record holders to prodigies, distance specialists to sprinting maestros, our athletes are poised to deliver memorable performances that will echo in the annals of Mississippi's rich athletic history. This preview will highlight some of the state's standout contenders, setting the scene for a championship that promises fierce competition, personal triumphs, and unforgettable moments.

So grab your fan gear, Mississippi - it's time to rally behind our fleet-footed heroes as they step up to the starting line!

Girls' 3200m Run: Mississippi's Long-Distance Dynamos Set to Dazzle

Mississippi's own Brookelyn Morgan from Tupelo is set to lace up her distance shoes for the exhilarating Girls' 3200m race at the RunningLane Track Championships. No stranger to the thrill of the race, Brookelyn holds an impressive personal best of 11:33.11 and proudly wears the badge of a two-time MHSAA 6A Champion in the 3200m run. Fresh off her second-place triumph at this year's MHSAA 6A Track and Field Championships, she's fired up as the seventh seed in the third heat. With the pacing lights dialed in at 11:14, we're on the edge of our seats to see if Morgan can shake up the leaderboard.

Not to be left in the dust, St. Andrew's superstar, Emily Ireland, is also lacing up her spikes for the 3200m showdown. Ireland, sliding into the fourth heat as the fifth seed, is no newbie to the winner's circle with an impressive collection of ten MHSAA 3A Champion crowns across 3200m, 1600m, and Cross Country events. Don't let her 11:52.84 personal best fool you - with fierce competition and pacing lights ready to guide her to 11:52, we're all buckled up to see Ireland blaze into the 11:40s or even quicker.

Adding more fuel to the fourth heat is Tupelo's bright-eyed freshman, Abbey Sanders, who's geared up to tackle the challenging 11:52 mark. Sanders' current record stands at 12:21.91, but don't blink - she's predicted to outpace herself this coming weekend.

Boys' 3200m Run: Mississippi's TrackBoyz Elite Ready to Roll

Mississippi's very own Taylor Brown is poised to spearhead a formidable Tupelo team, the self-styled TrackBoyz Elite, in the Boys' 3200m run at the RunningLane Track Championships. 

Among these dynamo distance runners is Brown, a seasoned contender who has twice qualified for the MHSAA 6A Track and Field Championships in the 3200m and boasts a lifetime best of 9:37. Alongside him are Homeschool's superstars Sam Johnson and Jeb Hamilton, joined by Lukas Dykes, a two-time MHSAA 4A Champion hailing from Mooreville High School.

Brown is set to take pole position in heat five with pacing lights calibrated at a blistering 9:30. Meanwhile, his Tupelo metro teammates are gearing up to chase pace lights dialed in at 9:40.

Joining the 3200m endurance test are Tupelo's very own Harrison Wampler and Brandon's Clayton Phillips. The 2023 RunningLane Track Championships promises to be a thrilling spectacle, with the TrackBoyz and their counterparts set to make Mississippi proud with every stride.

Girls' Mile: Tupelo's Stars Ready to Take the Lead

Tupelo's running prowess is set to shine bright across all distance events at the 2023 RunningLane Championships, with the Girls' Mile promising to be a must-watch event.

Leading the way for Mississippi is Sophie Santucci, fresh off her MHSAA 6A title win in the 1600m, clocking in a blazing personal best of 5:12.62. Santucci will be tearing up the track in the fourth heat, eyes set firmly on the 5:05 pacing mark. With a three-year undefeated streak in the 1600m, Santucci is a force to be reckoned with, and we're all braced for an electric performance.

Running stride for stride with Santucci, fellow Tupelo star Brookelyn Morgan is also stepping down to the Mile. Seeded as the top contender in the seventh heat, she's prepared to chase down the pacing lights set at the 5:24 mark. 

Joining the same heat and adding to Mississippi's strong lineup is Emily Ireland, a formidable force entering as the tenth seed. 

Boys' 1-Mile: Mississippi Athletes Set to Ignite the Track

The Boys' 1-mile run at the 2023 RunningLane Track Championships promises a thrilling spectacle for Mississippi, with four fiery competitors already blazing past the 4:30 mark. Prepare to witness a showstopper, folks!

First in line, Tupelo's very own speedster, Jaheim Bridges, is topping the Mississippi seed list in this event. With an indoor best of 4:22.65 and an outdoor record of 4:26.01 this year, the stars seem aligned for Jaheim to not only beat his outdoor best but also aim for a lifetime PR.

His teammate, Taylor Brown, is another Tupelo stud worthy of the spotlight. He clocked his lifetime best of 4:26.22 at the same meet as Jaheim on January 28th. While he hasn't slipped under 4:30 outdoors yet, the RunningLane Track Championships present the perfect setting for an outdoor breakout race.

Over at Mooreville High School, Lukas Dykes is gearing up for his own glorious moment on the track. His PR of 4:28.03, set on March 10th, is sure to be a driving force as he steps on the track.

But don't let the small-school status fool you. Walnut High School's Gabe McElwain has already made a name for himself in the 1600m. After securing a win at the Golden Wave Invitational with a PR of 4:27.99 early in the season, McElwain hasn't needed to push his limits. But RunningLane might just be the perfect stage to do so.

Adding some extra flavor to the mix is middle school sensation Andrew Brown from Tupelo Middle School. With an impressive PR of 4:28.90, any heat featuring this young prodigy is bound to keep the crowd on their toes.

Finally, Jeb Hamilton from Tupelo will be bringing his A-game to the 1600m, armed with a current PR of 4:33.24 set on May 6th. The RunningLane Track Championships are about to witness Mississippi's finest on the starting blocks, ready to make every stride count. This is one race you won't want to miss!

Girl's 800m: Mississippi's Speed Demons Ready to Break Barriers

Keep your binoculars trained on Sophie Santucci from Tupelo High School in the 800m this weekend. Coming off a spectacular postseason, this high-flying junior clinched the state title in the 1600m at the 2023 MHSAA 6A Track and Field Championships. Her 800m performance was nothing short of sensational, securing a bronze medal and a shiny new personal best of 2:20.8. That clock-in puts Santucci in the third spot for the best 800m athlete in Mississippi this outdoor season. With her current trajectory, she is ready to give the 2:20 barrier a serious nudge in Huntsville.

Jackson Prep's Olivia Smith is another Mississippi marvel to look out for in the 800m. This junior holds a personal best of 2:21.5 and is basking in the glow of yet another MSAIS 6A title in the event. To add another feather to her cap, Smith also bagged a 1600m victory at the 2022 MSAIS 6A Track and Field Championships. As a four-time MSAIS 6A state champion, Smith led the pack with the state's leading mark in the 800m for a significant portion of the season. There's a high chance she'll be pushing the envelope on the 2:20 mark at RunningLane this weekend.

Let's not forget to give a shout-out to Brookelyn Morgan, who is gearing up for the daring distance triple this weekend. This honorable mention shows the power, endurance, and ambition that Mississippi's athletes bring to the table. The RunningLane Championships are shaping up to be a whirlwind of personal bests and thrilling finishes. Get ready, Mississippi - your athletes are on the move!

Boy's 800m: Jaheim Bridges set to Conquer 

Doubling back from the boys' mile is none other than Jaheim Bridges, Tupelo High School's senior running sensation, ready to close his day with a flourish in the 800m. With a personal best of 1:57.5 in this event, Bridges is still riding high from a podium finish at the 2023 MHSAA 6A Track and Field Championships.

Bridges' race this weekend is set to be a fitting finale to a high school career peppered with accolades, including an MHSAA 6A individual title and three runner-up titles. At the 2022 RunningLane Track Championships, he thundered to third place in his heat, slashing a staggering six seconds off his personal best in the event, stopping the clock at 1:58.68. 

As he lines up at the start of the 800m, Bridges is not just another runner - he's a threat to the field and a testament to Tupelo's running excellence. Don't blink, Mississippi. Jaheim Bridges is set to make a thrilling last lap in his high school career at RunningLane this weekend!

The 2023 RunningLane Track Championships is shaping up to be a Mississippi speed fiesta, as our athletes prepare to break the barriers and dazzle the crowd. Buckle up, Mississippi Track and Field fans!