Talk of the Town: North and South State Stars

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Kelton Jones Hits Personal Best for New High Jump State Lead

At the MHSAA 6A North State meet, Kelton Jones of Grenada High School landed a statement jump. With a new personal best of 6-9, Jones has claimed the state lead and a massive seasonal best. Up until this meet, he had not jumped higher than 6-2.

Last year, Jones had a similar post-season experience. He skated through the regular season with a best of 6-4, only to jump a four-inch best and claim second place at the MHSAA 6A State Championships. If Jones can repeat what he did last year, he will have a strong chance to win the state title.

Oak Grove Freshman Jordyn Moody Remains Untouchable

The freshman phenom from Oak Grove, Jordyn Moody, continues to dominate the state in the 400m race. With her 5th race under the 57-second mark, she remains a clear favorite for the 7A state title. At the 7A South State meet, she ran a new personal best of 56.09, edging even closer to her first sub-56 race. 

Only one other athlete has gone under 58 in the entire state, Lania McDonald of Gulfport High School. Moody is not only putting up numbers in the 400m, but also in the 100m as well. She will compete in both events this weekend at the 7A State Championship meet.

Alexis Wilburn Breaks 8-Way Tie for a New State Lead

Similar to past years, the Mississippi high jump rankings tend to get clumped up at a certain mark. For the entire year, our best athletes have struggled to get past the 5-4 mark, leaving an 8-way tie for the state lead. However, Alexis Wilburn of Caledonia High School has broken away from this pack and claimed the title for herself.

At the 4A North State meet, she hit a four-inch personal best to catapult herself into an MS#1. She dominated her competition last weekend and will no doubt be a favorite for this year's state meet.

Colin Brannon Grabs Two Photo-Finish Victories

At the MHSAA 7A North State championship meet, Colin Brannon of Madison-Central came away with narrow victories in the 1600m and 3200m. Competing against some of the best distance runners in the state, Brannon had to dig deep in the back half of his races to claim victory. 

In the 3200m, Brannon beat Tupelo's Taylor Brown by 0.08 seconds, earning his first victory for the day. Brannon and Brown were head to head most of the race and an electric last lap by the Madison Central senior sealed his win. 

In the 1600m, Brannon beat Oxford High School's Bailey Kosko by 0.06 seconds due to his monstrous last 400m. Kosko had a large gap on the rest of the field, but with one lap left Brannon turned on the boosters and hunted Kosko down. With how close both of these races turned out, there is no telling how close the 7A State title race will be. 

In my opinion, there are very few, if any, athletes in the state who can beat Colin Brannon's kick. If it comes down to a kick finish in either of these events, Brannon may be able to claim two state titles this weekend.

Braxton Rea Goes 1:57 in the 800m For the Third Time

Madison-Central junior Braxton Rea continued his dominant season in the 800m this past weekend at the MHSAA 7A North State Championships. Rea took down the rest of the competition swimmingly, beating the next finisher by three whole seconds with a time of 1:57.83.

This was Rea's third time this season clocking 1:57 for the 800m and his fifth race win of the year. The only race that Rea has not finished first in was the George Kearsh 800m, where he placed sixth with a personal best of 1:57.08. 

Rea enters the 7A State Championships with the fastest seed time, but he will have to face Pearl's duo of Tanner Moore and Jon Haralson, as well as Oak Grove's Luke Skinner. On top of that, Rea will have to fight off Oxford's Bailey Kosko once again. The race to crown the first-ever 7A 800m State Champion will be the premier event of the day.

Four New State Leads in the Relays

This past weekend was quite busy for fast runners. At the MHSAA 7A South State Championships, Meridian's boys 4x200m narrowly beat out Brandon 1:26.70 to 1:26.93 for the win and to claim the new state lead.

Also at the 7A South State Championships, Brandon High School's girls 4x800m squad punched their ticket to the state meet in a flashy way by taking the state lead in 10:04.34, passing Madison Ridgeland Academy's performance of 10:05.82 from earlier in April.

At the 7A North State meet, Clinton's girls 4x200m easily secured their ticket to the 7A State Championships by putting up a time of 1:41.39, the fastest time run in Mississippi this year. The Clinton girls 4x100m followed suit by doing the exact same thing- a first-place finish and a new state lead in 47.42.

Howard Banks Breaks 48 in 400m

Clinton's Howard Banks won the 7A North State 400m by running 47.73, a new personal best. Banks' time now ranks him as the third-fastest in the state this year behind Cooper Rodgers and Damari Giles.

With Damari Giles placing fifth in this race, Banks is now, on paper, the fastest 400m runner left in the 7A 400m hunt. Next week he will headline the event against Northwest Rankin's Dylan Harley.

Kentravian Kinkle 100m/200m Double (10.74/21.22)

Kentravian Kinkle has steadily put out one of the most impressive individual sprint seasons in quite some time. This outdoor season alone, Kinkle has won 14 different events across the 100m, 200m, and 400m.

This past weekend, Kinkle won all three sprinting events with personal bests in each. In the 100m, Kinkle ran 10.74. In the 200m, Kinkle ran 21.22. Lastly, in the 400m, Kinkle ran 49.87. Each of those times standalone is great, but all of them in one day is incredibly exciting.

Kinkle will be back in action for Holly Springs this weekend in Pearl at the MHSAA 3A State Championships

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