Talk of the Town: 2024 Last Chance Does Not Disappoint

Cooper Rodgers Lights Up The Track in 400m

This weekend in Mississippi Track and Field, all eyes were on Cooper Rodgers, the 400-meter phenom from Raymond High School. At the 2024 Last Chance Invitational in Birmingham, AL, Rodgers delivered a jaw-dropping performance, completing the indoor 400m dash in an astonishing 47.22 seconds.

Rodgers, a three-time MHSAA 4A Champion, now stands at the second spot in the nation for this event. But his excellence doesn't stop there; he's also secured the second all-time rank in Mississippi state history for the indoor 400m, just behind Tavaris Tate's record of 47.06 seconds.

What's next for this talented senior remains a mystery, but one thing is certain: if he continues to race, he could potentially become the first high school boy from Mississippi to break the 47-second barrier in the indoor 400m dash.

Stay tuned as Rodgers continues to make history on the track.

Jonthan Henderson makes Indoor Debut with MS#1 HJ

The reigning MHSAA 6A High Jump Champion, Jonathan Henderson from Warren Central, made a spectacular indoor debut that left everyone in awe. Henderson, an unsigned senior with an impressive personal record of 6-10, stepped onto the indoor stage and clinched victory with a remarkable MS#1 mark of 6-6.

Furthermore, Henderson now sits tied at third all-time in state history in the High Jump

This performance tells us that the Warren Central star has clearly been putting in work during the offseason, and with him coming into the season with this kind of fitness, it is likely he could sneak up on the seven-foot barrier as we approach the outdoor season.

Bryant, Moore Lead Pirates Middle-Distance Crew

In a weekend filled with blistering middle-distance races at the 2024 Last Chance Invitational, two standout athletes stole the spotlight. Leading the pack was Pearl's own JaQuavion Bryant, riding high off his recent 2023 Mississippi Gatorade Runner of the Year. Bryant showcased his incredible talent, clocking an impressive 4:20.3 to secure the second-place spot overall.

Hot on Bryant's heels was the remarkable freshman talent from Tupelo, Andrew Brown, who blazed through the track with a remarkable time of 4:21.5, clinching third place in the event. Bryant, who had previously claimed the title of the 2023 MHSAA 7A Cross Country Champion, now holds the esteemed position of second all-time in Mississippi state history for the 1600m, trailing only the legendary Christian Balcer, who set a record of 4:17.7 at the 2021 Last Chance Invitational three years prior.

Adding to the excitement, Andrew Brown secured the third all-time rank, making it a family affair as his older brother and fellow Tupelo standout Taylor Brown now stands sixth all-time with a notable performance of 4:26.2 at the same meet.

Additionally, Andrew Brown now claims the throne as the fastest fresman in the country in the 1600m run

If that doesn't blow your mind, then this will - Andrew Brown is now the eighth fastest freshman in United States history to run the 1600m

JaQuavion Bryant wasn't the only star from Pearl making waves; he was part of an exceptional middle-distance crew, including Tanner Moore, Brendan Clark, and Jon Haralson. This trio now claims the top three times in the state for the 800m event. Tanner Moore, the reigning MHSAA 6A 800m and 1600m Champion (pictured above), took the victory in the 800m race with a time of 1:57.7.

In summary, the Pearl Pirates' distance program is making history, with their sights set on a remarkable milestone. They're well on their way to becoming the first team from the Magnolia State to break the 8-minute barrier in the 4 x 800m relay, solidifying their position as one of the most formidable distance programs in Mississippi's track and field history.

Sophie Santucci Stays on Top of Mississippi Middle Distance

After her debut at the Emory Crossplex Showdown, Sophie Santucci has shown no signs of slowing down. At the Last Chance #3 this past weekend, she doubled in the 800m and 1600m, placing third overall in both events and earned two new personal bests of 2:18 and 5:08.

With these stunning new times, she beats her previous MS #1 mark in the 800m and pushes her lead even further. Also, her mark of 5:08 in the 1600m earns her another MS #1 by over seven seconds. A quick look at the Milesplit rankings will tell you that Santucci holds the top time in three different events this indoor season. 

Looking past the current rankings, Santucci has broken ground on the all-time rankings as well. Her 2:18 in the 800m puts her in 2nd all-time for the indoor 800m. In the 1600m, she claims the 5th fastest time ever for indoor girls in that event.

Trace Hendon MS#1 Pole Vault in Indoor Debut

Showcasing in his first-ever indoor event, senior Trace Hendon of Madison-Ridgeland Academy did not hold back. Hitting a height of 14-0, the reigning MAIS champion claimed 1st overall and has a new MS #1 spot for indoor pole vault. 

With this impressive achievement, he has snuck into the all-time list and now sits as the 8th-best indoor pole vaulter in state history.

Hendon finished his 2023 season with victory at the MAIS Championships with a 13-6 mark for the pole vault. If he is already opening up his season with a six-inch personal best, what else can we expect from him as the season continues?

Jenesis Williams Shows Off Versatility

Jenesis Williams, a standout athlete from Clinton High School, demonstrated her remarkable versatility on the track this weekend. This unsigned senior broke new ground by becoming the first and only female Mississippi prep athlete this season to conquer the indoor 400m dash in just 59.69 seconds, marking the MS#1 ranking.

What makes Williams truly exceptional is her ability to excel in two entirely different events - the 60-meter hurdles and the 400-meter dash. She currently leads in both categories, showcasing her incredible talent and determination.

Williams isn't just an individual star; she's a crucial asset to the Lady Arrows team, aiming to secure the first-ever MHSAA 7A team title. Her consistent point-scoring performances are a driving force behind her team's pursuit of greatness.

Jenesis Williams is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with on the track, and her journey continues to captivate both fans and competitors in Mississippi Track and Field.

Written by: Chris Webber(Editor) and Bennett Ferguson