TMSAA State Track and Field Championships
We've just completed the second year of the TMSAA state track and field championships. This year the rain gave us all a slight rest break just as the hurdles were finishing up and so overall the day of track and field was successful. When you say "State" anything, you're obviously looking for the best of the best. No disappointment here for sure.
The "A" division, or smaller school division, came out strong with Serena Lee of Bellevue getting an impressive and front running win in the high jump with a 5-6. That mark sets the standard and the top mark in the State this year. The boys high jump was a very tightly contested event with the top jump of 5-8 belonging to Caleb Brown of John P. Freeman. With the same height, but getting a second with more misses was Xavier Murrell of Douglas.
The girls long jump was close as well, with Ariya Rice of Alcoa getting 17-7 and just four inches behind was Tyra Nabors of W.E.B. DuBois. That 17-7 was just three inches off of Tyra's best state leading jump of 17-10 and capturing another PR for her as well. The boys long jump was an exciting event to watch as well with Kendall Ducksworth of Westside posting a leap of 20-2.75. You have to remember, these are middle school athletes!! That's the second best mark in the state and clearly gave himself a well earned win in a very deep and strong long jump field here at the state championships.
The throws had their own version of excitement as we saw a few stray discus tosses make people keep their eyes open around that event... which they should anyways!! But with the top girls throw in the "A" division at 101-4 and second at 94-1 set by Katie Biggs (1st, Rogersville) and Jazmine Moore (2nd, Robertsville) there were the expected great performances by these girls there to watch too. The normally very steady Katie didn't throw one of her best at this meet, but she still hangs onto the top spot in the state with her 109-8 toss this season. Way to go Katie! Neil Brown of Union City was pretty much the same, a little below his state leading mark but still an impressive 137-1 win that was just over 13 feet over second place finisher, and teammate, Taylan Tribble.
As I mentioned in the meet preview article, I thought Tyra Nabors was going to be a tough one to beat in the 100 hurdles and she proved me correct for sure! Tyra ran a blistering 15.07 that was, well, FAST! The second and third place finishers were in a very close race with 17.52 by Laci Johnson of Bellevue taking the runner up spot from Kaniya Floyd (Geeter) who ran a 17.73. I also had Marius Steward as the favorite coming into this meet for the hurdles and he did indeed win that in a time of 15.06 and then went on to win the 100M dash later in 11.57. There were three guys in the 100M dash that went sub 12 and so you know this was a great day for Track. The girls 100 was also fun to watch as the top three in heat two here posted sub 13 times. Sanura Branigan (Bellevue) took top honors with 12.56, followed by W.E.B. Duboiss Vajerica Kee in 17.75 and thired was Bellevue's Cameron Wilson in 12.86. Did I mention this was Middle School track and field! Wow, some impressive runs here for sure!
Now you know the relays are always fun to watch, and yes again, this is middle school! The girls 4x200 had two marks under 1:50! W.E.B. DuBois put together a team that set one of the fastest times in the state with a 1:48.51 and then another one of those fastest times came in second with Bellevue posting a 1:49.56. Every exchange zone on this race was packed with excitement as these girls battled for that top spot. I just have to say, they were close! The boys relay posted similar results with Belleve setting a mark of 1:38.67 for the win and Lowrance getting 1:39.92 for the runner up spot.
The 400M dash had some notable marks set this Saturday with Lauren Johnson of Bellevue capturing the top spot for the girls in a 59.87 and Logan Parsons doing the same for the boys in 53.57. Equally impressive were the 200M dash winners with a 25.93 set by Bellevue's Sanura Branigan to give her a 100 and 200 sweep. And as stated earlier, Marius Steward capped off the sprint day with his 23.25 200M dash to get his sweep as well.
And just to finish up the A division, the 1600 girls was a really fun race to watch as a couple of speedsters to the track and made this race exciting. Dinah Winders and Aliyah Williamson were pretty much neck and neck most of the way until about the last lap with Dinah surged forward with her very strong running style to take the win in 5:25.13. Aliyah finished strong as well and posted a sub 5:30 for a middle school runner with her 5:29.13. With the hot and humid and rain delayed meet, these times are really impressive. They both were locked in another battle in the 800M race but this time Shelby Knight of Alcoah took the lead and went quickly to the front to win in 2:38.76. Dinah and Aliyah were locked in a photo finish with Dinah second in 2:31.61 and Aliyah next in 2:31.69. That's 0.08 seconds apart over the course of two laps of the track! Now that's what I call racing! Let's get fourth place finisher, Abby Hausladen of Jefferson (2:33.93) together for a run at a fast 4x800 relay sometime! Think that would be fun to watch!
The boys 800 was won by Jeb Martin of South with a very strong top five statewide mark of 2:11.98. And as remarkable a run that was, the boys 1600 was even more so. With a 4:58.06 time, Jose Perez of Fairview was only able to get a third place finish here and Alcoa's Hunter McCoy posted a second place time of 4:57.45. Second and third with sub 5 marks for middle school athletes! And of course, setting a really fast pace to end of with the win in 4:52.06 was Gray's Conner Wingfield. Really something to watch these guys ran that fast!
Now for the AA division. This is the larger school and so I was wondering if we put both the A and AA up against each other what would that look like. Well, this may surprise you but it appears the smaller schools ended up with the most top marks of the State Championships. But this wasn't a blow out by any means. For instance, the boys AA boys 800 was won by Collierville's Jack Lange in a time of 2:11.26. That time was only better than the A division by 0.72 of a second, so just under a full second! That's pretty darn close for sure.
This pattern happened again in the 100M dash with the AA division getting the best time out of Jaylen Greenwood of Germantown by only a quarter of a second over the A division winner. And the girls 100M for AA was won by Arnazsia Johnson, and get this, by only 0.04 of a second.. that's 3 hundreths of a second for the best time at this meet. Some pretty close races between these athletes. In the boys 200 race, the best time of the day was set by the AA division with Javon Davis of Whitthorne running an impressive 23.27 that was the best of the day by only 0.02 of a second!
The AA got the best also in the following events: girls 1600 with Andie Marie Jones running a 5:13.25 that was way ahead of the next AA girl and set the best time of the day for her. The boys high jump was won with a mark of 5-10 by Bremarious Tipton of Crestview and the girls shot of 38-1 set the top mark in the AA and the meet when Hallie DeArmean of Rhea threw her best throw on her 4th attempt and set a meet high of 38-1.5.
There were all total 7 girls that got the best marks of the
meet and 8 boys for the A division. On
the AA side, the girls were able to garner the top mark of the meet in six
events and the boys got five events.
So the argument on which of the two divisions are the best in the state... think we'll have to just leave that one up to everyones own opinion since at this meet, the performances were close. This really shows how much the sport is growing and also should point out that no matter the size of the school, the amount of athletes the school has, when it comes to track and field, it's down to the performance of the individual on that day!
Enjoy the sport of Track and Field - because really, it's for EVERYONE!!
See you on the Track!