For many years there has been talk about where some of the
best sprinters or hurdlers or field event athletes have come out of the Memphis
area. In the past few years however, the
athletes come from all across the state.
I don't think one area has a lock on all the best athletes. So let's take a look at the Memphis area
athletes from the D1 division that are heading out to the State meet.
Houston's Liam Jogal is the area's best vaulter and he heads into the state meet with a seed of 13 feet. That's not his best though, at the Harding Last Chance relays, he was able to cross the bar at 13-9. That's a PR for him and happens to come at the best time of the season... right as we head into the State meet! Another field event to look out for is the Triple. Memphis Central's junior Elliot Barner happened to have a good day at the Section 4 championships when he jumped a whopping 47-10 to set a new PR for him and take the top seed into the State meet this week. That also sits at the top of the rankings in the state for the event and puts him in a great position to stand on the tallest podium this Thursday.
The discus may also be one of the highlights to watch at the state boys meet. Arlington's Roland Turner has tossed the discus 170-10. That's just under a 20-foot improvement from his best last season and makes this senior the guy to watch this week as well.
The running events across the state are stacked with talent and going to make it difficult to rise to the top in any of them! Usually Memphis Central will showcase some hurdle talent and this year is no different with Deng Wek entering the meet as the best hurdler from the area in both the 110 and 300's. Deng's seed for the meet is 15.04 but has set a PR in April with a win at the Battle of the Border in 14.58. No doubt the 110's is in for a photo finish this year!
And speaking of Memphis Central, their 4x200 team comes in with the top seed of 1:28.08. That's just ahead of Southwind's 1:28.26 and Millington's 1:28.69. That's a bunch of fast athletes sitting in a good spot at the top of this event. Southwind also is bringing a 42.77 4x100 relay to State. But they may be fighting for the top Memphis finisher with Whitehaven and White Station right on their tails (42.81 and 43.08 respectively). As always, those sprint relays are fun to watch!
Whitehaven also brings in one of the State's best 400M athletes in Emmanuel Bynum. Emmanuel set a PR this year running 47.04 early in the season that still sits as the State's best time this year. And although he comes in with a #4 seed in the 200M dash, he also is the holder of the State's fastest time in that event as well at 21.14. This guy can fly and the State meet is certainly the place to showcase that talent.
The boys 1600 this year is going to match two Memphis area athletes that have gone head to head so many times it's too numerous to count. Arlington's Jackson Williams and Houston's Bradley Turner are going at it again at state. Jackson was able to get ahead of Bradley at the Sectional, but I'm not even going to predict who may be favored when they step up to the start line Thursday. Either way, these guys are fun to watch and both look ready to head up some very fast times for Memphis area athletes. And if the 1600 doesn't turn out the way either one of them hope, they both will get to do it again in the 3200 later that evening. And we can put Bartlett's Robert Dawson into the mix there as well for the 3200 as he's wedged in between these two guys with his 9.54 seed time.
Now I wonder who from the Memphis area will have the chance to say they are the best 4x400 team from the west? Could it be Whitehaven since they come into the meet with the best Memphis seed time of 3:22.78. That isn't much cushion against the 3:23.25 time by Memphis Central or 3:23.70 posted for Bartlett's team. But just coming in with a seed below them is Southwind in 3:24.13. But that could be deceiving since Southwind has posted a 3:21.91 time in late April at the city championships. This by far could be the one race you don't want to miss. Bragging rights on the 4x400 are on the line! Spike up guys, it's going to be fun!
Now to the girl's field events. A couple of triple jumpers might be making noise Thursday. Houston's Kyla McLaurin comes in with a 37-10.50 mark that happens to be the top seed here. Serena Lee, a freshman, and Lauren Johnson, a sophomore, both from Memphis Central round out the top five seeds with Serena having a 36-01.50 and Lauren 35-11.50. That's 3 girls in the top five for the event, so it could be a good Memphis showing here.
Memphis Central's Brittney Ivory is making the trip to Murfreesboro in both her throwing events. Seeded third in the shot (39-11.0) and a little further down the seeds with a 105-09 in Discus, she looks ready to make her senior year finish on a really good note!
Scoring the top 8 out of the 16 possible entries in the D1 meet makes for an exciting and competitive meet for sure. The 4x800 is always a really exciting race to watch - and no, it's not just because there's the potential to have 16 hand-offs occurring all at the same time... and no, it's not the confusion, congestion, and possibility that a huge disaster could happen during the first exchange... and no, it's not just because watching 4 athletes on 16 teams all come across the finish line tightly packed and racing to be the first over the finish line... well, ok, it is because of all that! Houston, Arlington, Collierville and Whitehaven are the four from the Memphis area. There is only about 8 seconds separating these four teams, so who comes across as the fastest Memphis team isn't going to be a cake walk. I think Arlington has an edge, but never count Houston out either, especially when it comes to distance races.
Tyra Nabors, the Southwind hurdler is ranked right up at the top for the 300 hurdles and holds a good top five mark in the 100's. It's going to be really difficult for anyone from the D1 Memphis area to topple her from the top!
An interesting race for Memphis fans might just be the girls 4x200 relay. With Southwind seeded at #1, Germantown #2, Whitehaven #4 and Kirby at #7 overall in this race, we are going to see a very fast race with four in the fast heat of this race! My guess, the crowd will be loud when these girls take off!
But that relay might not be one of the best races of the day. In the girls 400M dash, there are 4 girls coming in with seed times under the 57 mark. That's Breanna Miles (55.90), Kirstin Jones (56.16), Mariah Smith (56.67) and Sequoyah Maynard (56.91). The schools... Southwind, Whitehaven, Germantown, and Germantown. Four from Memphis area schools taking the four best lanes in this race. Oh yea, I'm talking fast!!
And maybe I just left the best for last. Arlington senior athlete, Skylar Boogerd, comes into the 3200M run with a seed time of 11:10.27. That's not her fastest, but what she needed to win the Section 4 meet. She has an 11:05.98 that gave her a 6th place finish at the Eastern Relays and so I'd expect a meet like the State Championships is going to bring out her best.
Well, one more event I want to talk about for a second... that's the 4x400. Germantown and Whitehaven ran to within about half a second apart at the sectional to get into the state meet as the top two seeds. Do you think they are going to run with a bit of heart at the State meet... oh yea, I think so! Wonder who is going to come out on top this time?
See you on the track,