Talk of the Town: State Leads Fall as Outdoor Heats Up

Edwards and Quarles Face off in Hurdles

At the Hattiesburg High School Invitational, teammates Sierra Edwards and Chrisiyona Quarles of Brookhaven High School crushed the hurdles together. In the 100mH, Edwards came away with a narrow victory over Quarles, finishing in 14.95. This mark earns her the top spot in Mississippi for the 100mH and matches her personal best from the 2023 season.

In the 300mH, Quarles came out on top with a time of 46.82. This time places her as the fastest 300mH in the state this year and proves that she is ready to pick up right where she ended last year.

These two electrifying athletes showcase the depth that Brookhaven has in terms of hurdlers and they will no doubt be a force to be reckoned with at this year's state championships.

Jordyn Moody Dominates 200m and 400m at Hattiesburg High

Hailing from Oak Grove High School, this freshman phenom had huge personal bests in both the 400m and the 200m this past weekend. At the Hattiesburg High School Invitational, Jordyn Moody doubled in the 400m and the 200m, coming away with two victories and two MS #1's. In the 400m, she ran a split of 56.89, ranking her as the fifth-fastest freshman in the nation. For her 200m, her time of 25.32 puts her in the top 10 for freshmen in the country.

Moody has been hiding under the radar since last year, but after this weekend she has skyrocketed to the top of the rankings. Last year she fell just short of qualifying for the MHSAA 6A State Championships in the 200m, however, this season she could make her bid in both the 200m and the 400m.

Andrew Brown and Taylor Brown take 1-2 at Northridge

Over in Alabama, the Brown brothers took control of the 1600m race at the Northridge-Black & Blue Invitational. Andrew Brown had a decisive victory with a time of 4:28, earning himself the fastest time in the state this year. Closely behind him, Taylor Brown came in second with his 4:34, ranking him as the third-fastest runner in the state behind Gavin Brown.

Both Taylor and Andrew had phenomenal indoor performances, and it is only a matter of time until these brothers turn the heat up on this year's outdoor season.

Boys Sprints are Heating Up

Although it is still extremely early into the season, we are already seeing stellar performances in the boys sprinting scene. At the Hattiesburg High School Invitational, Timothy Gowdy threw down in the 100m and 200m races, winning both with splits of 10.56 and 22.12, respectively. His impressive time in the 100m sprint has ranked him as the fastest in the state this year, just ahead of renowned sprinters Jamari Page and Howard Banks. In the 200m, Gowdy is just shy of a state lead, hanging only 0.08 seconds behind Banks. 

Last year, Gowdy did not make it past the regional meet for both the 100m and 200m races. However, it is clear he did not let last year's shortcomings stop him, and he is not an athlete you should overlook this season.

For the 400m race, Jaston McWilliams ran a blazing 50.32 for a new state lead and impressive victory. McWilliams has had a few experiences with the 400m before, but this race was a huge personal best for him and launched him into the state rankings. 

As the boy's sprint rankings start to take shape, be on the lookout for Mississippi State commit Cooper Rodgers. He has yet to toe the line this outdoor, but he had an extraordinary indoor season and boasted the state's fastest times in both the 200m and 400m last year. 

It is too early to tell much, but it is clear that the Mississippi boy's sprint scene is shaping up to be one for the ages this year.

Skinner and Smith Raise the Bar in the 800m

Despite having a rocky past couple of seasons, Luke Skinner of Oak Grove High School is off to a hot start for his 2024 track campaign. After not having run an outdoor 800m race for almost three years, this William Carey University commit has not lost his racing abilities in the slightest. 

With a winning time of 2:00, Skinner claims the fastest time in the state and crushes his old outdoor personal best by eight seconds. If you know anything about the 800m race, you'll understand what an insane feat it is to achieve a personal best of that margin. Following closely behind him, his teammate Louis Schramm came in with a 2:02 and a new personal best as well.

This duo currently holds the 1st and 3rd spots in the 800m rankings for the state and we can fully expect them to both push below the two-minute mark later this season. 

On the girl's side, reigning 800m MAIS champion Olivia Smith of Jackson Preparatory School and University of Southern Mississippi commit clipped off a 2:24, winning by over ten seconds and claiming the 3rd fastest time in the state.  At this same time last year, Smith opened her season with a 2:35, eventually ending her season with an insane personal best of 2:18. If she is already starting off her season this fast, there is no telling what mark she could hit by the end of the season.