Talk of the Town: The Post-Season has Begun

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Luke Skinner and Jaquavion Bryant Throwdown at Regional 1600m

Last Friday Pearl hosted the MHSAA Region 3-7A meet which ran 10 athletes under the 5:00 mark. Leading the way was Pearl's very own Jaquavion Bryant and Oak Grove's  Luke Skinner.

The pair finished first and second, about five seconds ahead of the rest of the field. Bryant just barely beat out Skinner running 4:21.74 and 4:21.84, respectively. The performances were personal bests for the outdoor 1600m for both runners. Bryant is now ranked No. 2 in Mississippi and Skinner currently ranks No. 3. The state's top time this year is held by Bryant's teammate, Brendan Clark, at 4:21.45. In the all-time rankings, three out of the top ten times all took place this year, making it one of the deepest years in Mississippi racing history.

Oak Grove's Louis Schramm and Pearl's Maxi Duran snagged the third and fourth place spots, also securing their tickets to the 7A South State Championships in Biloxi this weekend.

Alex Lopez and Aryn Eady Remain Untouched

This weekend, Mississippi's best throwers did what they did best and continued their utter domination of the field. Alex Lopez of Bayou Academy landed new personal bests in both the shot-put and discus, hitting marks of 55-4.5 and 166-0.75. His throws in the shot-put keep him afloat as Mississippi's leader in this event. In the discus, his 11-foot personal best earned him an MS#5.

On the ladies' side, Aryn Eady of D'Iberville saw her 13th win this season at the MHSAA Region 4-7A meet. Just a week prior, she extended her state lead with a massive throw of 145-9 at the Gulf Coast Classic. She currently sits over 20 feet ahead of Gates Welch, the second-best thrower in Mississippi. Aryn is less than 2 feet from breaking into the top 3 throws of all-time in the state, as she currently holds the 5th farthest mark in Mississippi history.

Looking beyond the state leaders, we have had several athletes make breakthrough performances. At the Woody Barnett Invitational, Qamarion Oatis of Oak Grove smashed his personal best by over 13 feet with his throw of 168-8. This launched him to an MS#3 and the farthest throw for the MHSAA 7A division. Right behind him, Myles Miller achieved a seemingly impossible personal best of almost 30 feet, landing a throw of 167-1 at the MHSAA 2-7A Regional

Cooper Rodgers Moves into Top 10 in the Country

After an already impressive season, Cooper Rodgers from Raymond High has continued to remain one of the top prospects in the country for his event. Last weekend, Rodgers ran a personal best of 46.72 for the 400m distance. Despite this performance being only 3 hundredths of a second faster than his last time, it still launched him up the national rankings.

He currently sits at 9th in the nation and is only half a second away from breaking into the top five. If he can have one more breakthrough race, could we see Rodgers take a shot at Tavaris Tate's Mississippi record of 45.48? Only time will tell, but if anyone can even come close to this record, it would be Cooper Rodgers.

Kaitlyn Burge Drops the Hammer in 1600/3200, Extends Her state lead 

At the MHSAA Region 1-7A meet last Saturday, Kaitlyn Burge continued her undefeated streak across the 1600m and 3200m by running 5:03.23 and 11:02.43 respectively. These were personal bests in both distances.

Burge is on an absolute tear this season as the No. 1 runner in the state for the 3200m and 1600m, along with a very close No. 2 in the state for the 800m in 2:17.65. The Mississippi State commit has not lost a race on Mississippi soil (cross country and track) since May of last year. She will continue her campaign this Saturday in Clinton as she seeks to claim the 1600m and 3200m state titles.

Pearl Impresses in Historic George Kearsh 800m Showdown

The prestigious George Kearsh 800m was held on April 12, in Pearl. This year's contest went down as one of the fastest overall 800m races in state history as eight of the nine runners in the field broke the ever-elusive 2:00 mark.

Taking the lead through the first 400m was Pearl's Tanner Moore. The frontrunners passed the 200m in roughly 27 seconds and the 400m in 56 seconds. Around the 550m mark, Moore's teammates Brendan Clark and Jaquavion Bryant caught him. From there, it was a sprint kick finish.

Bryant and Clark pushed to cross the line in 1:54.42 and 1:54.96, respectively. Closing in third and fourth were Moore in 1:56.14 and Oak Grove's Luke Skinner in 1:56.23. 

WATCH: George Kersh 800m Race 

According to Mississippi MileSplit records, no team has ever had more than one runner under 1:55 in the same year. Pearl currently has three runners with PRs at 1:54 (Bryant, Clark, and Moore). Pearl's fourth-best 800m runner this season, Jon Haralson, holds a time of 1:55.96 from earlier in March. It would be potentially the biggest upset in Mississippi History if any team were able to beat Pearl's A-team 4x800m the rest of the year.

Markeith Thompson's Breakthrough Performance in Hurdles

Over the weekend, we saw phenomenal performances in the hurdle events. One performance in particular was Markeith Thompson's time of 38.21 for the 300mH race. This junior out of Natchez has been a top-five contender all season, but this race has cemented him as the fastest in the state by a strong margin. 

His time of 38.21 was a personal best by almost two seconds, catapulting him up the rankings. Thompson currently holds the MS#1 spot and is now ranked 10th all-time in Mississippi history for this event. 

Thompson isn't just a hurdler, as he also jumped a massive mark of 23-1 in the long jump. This was a huge personal record for him and tied him for 5th in the state. Watch out for him at this year's MHSAA 5A State Championship, because he currently leads his division in the 110mH, 300mH, and long jump.

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