2023 RunningLane Recap: Andrew Brown Leads The Way
Known to be one of the most competitive races in the nation, the 2023 RunningLane Cross Country Championships did not go easy on this year's runners. Finishing the race covered in mud, Mississippi athletes braved the rough weather conditions and excelled in their individual races.
In a race with harsh conditions that limit the chance of a fast race, runners must shift from working against the clock to working against the competitors. Many Mississippi athletes exemplified this fact and showed out with grit and determination.
Andrew Brown of Tupelo High School led all Mississippi runners with a finishing time of 16:21, an impressive feat for a freshman considering the condition of the course. As a testament to his perseverance, he finished higher than his entry position, as well as the third fastest freshman.
Following closely behind his brother, Taylor Brown finished with a 16:41.
Lilly Overby from Simpson Academy had the fastest Mississippi girl's time, clocking 19:40. Overby now has another chip to add to her top Mississippi finishes and will be an athlete to look out for this track season.
William Fugate of St. Joseph Catholic School had the 2nd fastest time of the day coming through at 16:30. With perhaps the most impressive performance of the day, Fugate finished 25th overall in the silver race, despite being seeded 147th.
Sam Johnson and Jeb Hamilton from the Tupelo Spartans had solid performances, coming through at 16:42 and 16:58, respectively. Both of these athletes finished over one hundred places higher than they were seeded, showcasing again why they are the best home school runners in the state.
Grayson Taylor of Oak Grove High School finished in 16:58, tailed closely by his teammate Matthew McGuire with a 17:15. Again, both runners finished well above their seeded rankings and will now go into track season looking to push the southern half of the state.
Audrey Mayatte led the MOVE Team with a 20:03 and also grabbed a 12th-place finish in the silver division. This was the highest finish of the day for a Mississippi athlete and helped secure the MOVE squad 14th overall in the team standings.
Elsie Wilbanks from Corinth High School finished with a 20:26 and 34th overall. Elsie was followed by fellow Mississippi runner Sammy Kennedy from Oak Grove, who clocked a 20:52 and finished 67th overall. These two runners finished well above their seeded entry and ended their season with quality performances
Clinton High's Dominance Continues
When it comes to track and field, Clinton High School has long been a name to reckon with in Mississippi. And at the 2023 Magic City Invitational, they didn't just make their presence known; they left a thunderous mark that's reverberating across the state. With an eye on the first-ever MHSAA 7A team titles in the Spring of 2024, Clinton High School showed up in style, clinching a staggering 13 Mississippi No. 1 marks and etching seven of their performers onto the Mississippi Indoor Track and Field All-time list.
13 Mississippi No. 1, and seven Top-10 All-time marks. Let that sink in for a moment. It's not just impressive; it's a testament to the sheer talent and depth of the Clinton High Track and Field squad. From sprints to hurdles, and even field events, they left no stone unturned.
Nakirsten Hughes and Omari Hampton blazed their way onto the list in the 60m dash, while Jenesis Williams and Kaitlyn Jones showcased their prowess in the 60m hurdles. Howard Banks left his mark in the 400m, Ruby Romig owned the Shot Put, and their boys' 4x200m relay team cemented their spot on the All-time lists.
What's truly astounding is that this doesn't even include the current Clinton Track and Field athletes, Tacherria Lawson, Ana Moller, and Kennedi McCord, who have already earned their spots on the Top-10 lists from previous performances last season.
Additionally, young bucks Kamiah Mounger, Kayla Coleman, and Kate Jackson have joined the scene, all securing marks in their respective events that would have made the 2023 MHSAA 6A Track and Field Championships.
The depth of talent at Clinton is undeniable, and they are picking up right where they left off in 2023. As the track and field season unfolds, all eyes are on the Arrows, with their eyes firmly set on the 2024 MHSAA 7A team titles.
Abram's Remarkable Feat at the Magic City Invitational
Avery Abram Jr., the Tylertown Senior, brought some serious heat to the 2023 Magic City Invitational! He participated in three events, and guess what? He nailed lifetime bests in all of them - talk about a hot streak!
In the Long Jump, he leaped an astonishing 22 feet and 0.75 inches. Not only did he snag the gold, but he also now ranks 11th all-time in Mississippi High School Boys Indoor Track and Field history.
But wait, there's more! Avery showed off his high-flying skills in the High Jump, clearing the bar at an impressive 6 feet and 6 inches. He's now sitting pretty at the No. 3 spot on the all-time list for high jump in Mississippi High School Boys Indoor Track and field.
As the indoor season rolls on and the outdoor season looms, we'll all be keeping a close eye on Abram Jr.
Kessler Soars to New Heights
The Pole Vault is the perfect combination of athleticism and finessing technique. And one athlete who's been clearly been working on those things in the off-season is Tupelo Christian's Carson Kessler.
The reigning MHSAA 1A Boys Pole Vault Champion recently showcased his skill in the event at the 2023 Magic City Invitational, where he secured a fifth-place finish in his specialty event, setting a new indoor personal record of 13 feet. This feat that landed him on the Mississippi Indoor All-time lists at No. 14.
With just six inches standing between him and a coveted spot in the Mississippi Indoor All-time Top-10 list, Kessler is undoubtedly heading back to the drawing board to hone his skills to reach that next milestone.
Written By: Chris Webber(Editor) and Bennett Ferguson