Even though Tennessee distance performances have taken
center stage over the past couple of weeks, there is a quiet storm brewing in
the boy's sprints that everyone in the state should have on their radar:
Emmanuel Bynum of Whitehaven vs. Markeece Shufford of West Creek.
Both are reigning 2018 TSSAA State Champions but in different sprint distances and in different classifications. While Shufford posted a state best 10.49 on his way to win the Large School Division-I 100m Dash, Bynum won the Small School Division-I 200m Dash with a time of 21.44. Inversely, Shufford finished second in the 200m while Bynum finished second in the 100m in their respective classifications. This summer, Bynum transferred from W.E.B. Dubois to Whitehaven and that move made this showdown a very real possibility.
Since last year's state meet, Bynum has raced extensively while Shufford has raced sparingly. Bynum swept the 200m and 400m golds at Tennessee State Indoor, posted a 47.04 in the 400m at the Sugar Bowl Track Classic, and sits atop the Tennessee Rankings in the 100m (10.76), 200m (21.13), and 400m (47.04). But right on his heels sitting in second in the 100 is Shufford (10.78) and a little further behind in the 200 (21.96).
The question is how will this play out in May? Shufford has never raced a 400 so it's unlikely he'll start now. He'll likely attempt a repeat of his performances at last year's state meet and run the 100, 4x100, 200 while defending his title in the Long Jump. Meanwhile, will Bynum attempt the individual sprint triple? It's a tall task for any athlete with the pace at which the state meet is run, but if so, the potential of seeing Bynum and Shufford head to head in at least two races in May will be a treat for everyone in attendance. In the meantime, here are some races of theirs you can enjoy now.