Talk of the Town: New Faces and Veteran Performances

Talk of the Town
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Cooper Rodgers Breaks 47 in 400m at Fleet Feet Classic

This Raymond High School runner and Mississippi State University commit has once again blown all expectations out of the water. At the Fleet Feet Track Classic, Cooper Rodgers became the third Mississippi runner ever to break the 47-second mark for the 400m race.

With his winning time of 46.75, he is now ranked 9th in the nation and 1st in Mississippi. Rodgers is the first Mississippi athlete to go sub 47 in the last 15 years, which is yet another testament to the outstanding talent and grind of this runner.

If his performance in the 400m wasn't crazy enough, Rodgers doubled in the 200m race to snag another victory and a state lead. He ran a time of 21.02, securing him as the 6th fastest Mississippi runner to ever touch this sprint event. In the national rankings, he is now ranked 14th and is only two-tenths of a second away from breaking into the top ten.

Freshman Jordyn Moody Places Fourth at Challenge of Champions

Jordyn Moody of Oak Grove competed in the 400m invitational section of Mobile's Challenge of Champions, one of the premier out-of-state showcase meets.

Moody ran a personal best of 56.60, which extended her state lead in the event to almost two whole seconds from the state's next fastest athlete. The Oak Grove freshman placed fourth in a field featuring the top talents of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Moody is currently ranked fourth all-time for Mississippi Freshman in the 400m.

Pearl Boys Sweep the Arrow Invitational 1600m

Clinton High School hosted the Arrow Invitational on Saturday, where the Pearl Mid-Distance crew made a statement. Led by Jaquavion Bryant, Pearl runners finished 1-2-3 in the 1600m.

Finishing in third was Maxi Duran at 4:27.39, a full 13 seconds ahead of the fourth-place finisher. This performance was Duran's first crack at the mile this season and a lifetime best. Placing second was the state leader, Brendan Clark at 4:26.74. Winning the event was Bryant at a season-best 4:24.52.

The Pearl trio accounts for three of the top four 1600m runners in the state. Oxford's Bailey Kosko separates them at No. 3 with a time of 4:26.32. Kosko will not face the Pearl runners this season unless they all make it to the MHSAA 7A State Championships on May 4th.

Starkville Sophomore Shines in California Meet

Last weekend, Arcadia High School in California hosted the prestigious Arcadia Invitational sponsored by Nike. Two Mississippi athletes were invited to compete, one of which was Starkville's Adyn Kinard.

Kinard raced both the 100m and 200m, gaining personal bests in both events. Kinard's performance of 11.86 in the 100m placed her fifth overall and puts her currently as the MS No. 2. In the 200m, Kinard placed sixth overall with a time of 24.65, gaining her the fastest time this season in the state of Mississippi.

Alex Lopez Remains Untouched in Shot-Put

At the Sterling Penn invite, Alex Lopez of Bayou Academy acquired his 5th win this season in the shot put. With a mark of 53-1, the reigning MSAIS Champion pushed his own state lead even further. Since 2023, Lopez has not lost a single time in shot-put, totaling 11 wins in a row.

Girls' 1600m and 800m Races Heat Up 

This week we saw both the 800m and 1600m state leads fall on the girl's side. 

In the 1600m, Alex Lee of Madison Central torched the field with her time of 5:08. This mark pushes her up the rankings once again and establishes her as the state leader in this event. If you were to ask anyone who they thought the top three 1600m runners in the state would be at this point in the year, nobody could have predicted these standings. With Alex Lee leading the way, Katherine Neal and Addison Rainey round out the top spots. 

On the 800m side, freshman Emerson Yelverton of Biloxi High School had another breakthrough performance. At the Arcadia Invitational, she took the state lead with a blazing time of 2:17. This time not only secured her spot as the state fastest but also the 2nd fastest freshman to ever run this event in Mississippi. 

Seven-Way Tie for State Lead in Girls High Jump

Throughout the 2024 season, we have seen several amazing performances in the high jump, long jump, and triple. However, one outlier continues to stand out in these rankings. Over the last week, Harmony Jackson, Alana Rouser, Annie Toler, Indea Pounds, and Carmela Coulter all hit a high jump mark of 5-4. These five athletes join Jayla Jones and Kaylee Spencer in the race for Mississippi state lead. 

Last year we had ten athletes end their season at the 5-4 height, but three other athletes prevailed above this mark. The biggest question this season is, who will be the standout athletes to break away and claim their top spot?

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