We are finally going to see the State Track & Field Championships again! Here's a look at some highlights and individuals to watch from the Memphis area at the State meet.
Girls Division 1 Large Highlights
Pole Vault: Collierville's Clair Causey comes into the meet tied at the top seed at 10-6. Claire has a best of 11-0 set May 1st and consistently vaults upwards of 10-6 all season. This should make her the favorite for a title next week.
Triple: Having won the D1 Section 4 meet with a 36-0 jump, Memphis Central's Lauren Johnson might be coming into this meet with a chip. Having a 3rd place finish in 2018 and not so good a day in 2019, this senior sits a little over a foot away from the top seed at State. That top seed by the way is only 2.5 inches from Lauren's career best.
Shot: In the past, we've seen some pretty tight competition in the D1 Girls shot. 2019 it was won by about the diameter of a small shot. This season, Emma Tucker of Collierville ties the top seed at 38-2. There are five girls coming into this competition with seeds at 37 or longer. Since April 16th, Emma has not finished anything lower than 1st place and capped that streak with a win in the Section 4 championships. Her PR of 38-9.5 puts her on the watch list for sure!
100M Hurdles: Nobody has been more dominate in track than
Tyra Nabors in the 100 and 300 hurdles. She
sits as the top ranked hurdler in both events. I got to watch her set the top 100M Hurdle mark at the Saints Relays
early in the season and she was incredibly fast and flawless through the
hurdles. That was early in the season, I
can just imagine how impressive she will be at State. Bartlett take a 1-2 sweep with McKenzi Hayes
coming in right behind Tyra with seeds of 14.68 and 15.14. McKenzi set her fastest time at the Section
meet and so is coming into State on a roll.
The 100, 200 and 400: Whitehaven's Sanura Branigan is poised to make a strong run at state with her seed time only a fraction of a second off the top seed in the 200 and tied for top seed in the 100. Southwinds Nyla Blackmon is another top contender in the 200 and only seeded 0.08 of a second from the top. Blink and you'll miss this race for sure. Eva Gautreaux (Houston) ran a bit slower on the finals at the Sectional meet to get a win, but that just might have been because she ran a 57.08 PR in the prelims. I'm looking for another PR at state and Eva is certainly capable of doing that.
Relays: It appears that everyone this year is stacking their 4 x 200 relays! With a time of 1:43.28 and 1:43.63, Whitehaven and Memphis Central take the 1st and 3rd seeds coming into the State meet. Bartlett's team is seeded 1:44.66 and that is the 6th spot - and all those top six seeds set their season bests at their respective sectionals. Looks like this 4x200 relay is going to be one exciting finish!
Girls Division 1, Small
Long Jump: Memphis East's Alyssa Raymond, a sophomore that's jumped 17-4 this year. But I would keep an eye on this girl as she's jumped 17-7.5 in middle school. Last years pandemic time off doesn't look like it affected this jumper. Kamaya Small (Hillcrest) may also be a contender as this senior wraps up her senior season. Kamaya is also a hurdler and that sometimes bodes well for long jumpers - and vice versa too!
High Jump: with the top 4 girls coming in with the same seed of 5-0 and all seniors might make it hard to separate at the top. Briah Hampton of Memphis East will look to do just that after getting her best jump to qualify for state.
Shot & Discus: Ka Weaver comes into the State meet after setting some solid marks of 32-7.25 and 94-0. This Memphis Business Academy senior should have confidence after getting those season best marks. The competition is close in these events and so that podium stand is just waiting for her!
Hurdles: MASE senior Brikeria Gilkey, with a 16.80 in the 100 Hurdles and Denise Mines (Memphis Rise Academy), with a 50.12 in the 300 Hurdles are the to hurdlers from Memphis competing in this Divisions State championships.
Division 2, Large
Notables in the field events from the Memphis area:
Pole Vault: This is a very strong group with two girls in at 11-6. Caroline Weems (St. Agnes) and Kathryn Hosp (St. Benedict) train together and compete against each other each week. Kathryn has the upper edge a bit with two jumps this season, one at 12-0 early and one at 12-1 just last week. But Caroline is just behind her having a best this season of 11-7 and who knows what could come out of this at State.
Discus: Hutchison's Kaia Barnett threw 118-8 at the Region meet but has a 129-2 and a 124-2 in recent weeks that tells me she wants to get to state and improve that 3rd overall ranking in the state to the top spot!
The running events may just come down to a showdown in the distance and middle distance events and relays for the D2 Large Memphis girls.
3200 & 1600: St. Mary's Elizabeth Moody has put on a showcase this season where's she's run some impressive PR's of 11:26.54 and 5:20.13. Those were set at the Region meet and she was pretty far ahead of the competition. Running alone and setting solid PR's isn't an easy thing to do. It should be interesting to see how she reacts to having some powerful competition pulling her along!
800: Felicity Bost, the Briarcrest Senior and Memphis Signee is looking to run her best the State meet. With little competition in most races, Felicity has focused on having fun and getting some marks in various other events. But it's time to buckle down and see what this prolific athlete can do in the 800 at State. Felicity's season best of 2:17 this year is likely to drop. Just how much is probably the question to ask.
100, 200: Another Briarcrest athlete, Dalis Hawkins came through the Region meet with titles and PR's in both the 100 and 200 dashes. This is a good sign that this multi sport athlete is ready to sprint come next Wednesday.
4x100: The Saints bring in a solid crew to make a run in the 4x100 relay. Their fastest time of the season was set at the Region meet and it looks like they are progressing right on schedule to possibly get a school record and even more at the State meet.
4x800: This relay looks fairly tightly packed from top to bottom at state and could really come down to who is feeling their best and ready to go. Not a lot of time between all the teams and Briarcrest comes in from the Memphis area after setting a season best that was over a minute and eleven seconds faster than any previous race this season. That's got to be a confidence builder for sure!
Division 2, Small
High Jump: St. George's Senior Kym Young is a consistent higher jumper around the 5' mark. She started the season jumping 5-2 and won the D2A high jump with a 5-0 mark. Northpoints Savanna Davis and Hardings Alicia Howard are both set season PR's at the Region championships at 4-10. Alicia might get a little edge as she started out the season at 4-4 and continued to go up almost every competition.
Shot/Discus: Kym Young is the top seed in the shot (St. George's) followed by Harding's Monique Chew. With 34-6.5 and 33-8.5 marks set at the Region meet, this is going to be a tight battle to see who can take the top spot at the State meet. In the Discus, Emily Howard threw 112-9 to sneak into the top spot overall with Lausanne's duo of Rachel Lambert (100-8) and Lucy Fisher (96-11) right there in the 2nd and third seeds. Harding also has Morgan Nunnally who has thrown 94-7 to make this quite a fight for the points between these two teams.
100H: St. George's 8th grader, Kimbriel Winfield clocked a 17.10 to win the Region meet and get an impressive #3 seed going into State! That time is impressive, and being only an 8th grader certainly makes you want to keep an eye on how this athletes performs at State.
Distance: There is no way you can look at this division and not know the name Allison Newman! This senior and Missouri commitment missed the cross country finals because of an injury and so is very hungry to be more than prominent at the State meet this track season. Her 1600 seed of 5:00.45 is a new PR and having set that with about a 34 second lead makes it even that more astounding! Allison is also running the 800 at state and is seeded at 2:23.51. That time is a bit slower than her PR of 2:19.85 set at the Eastern Relays. Allison ran the Eastern to see how she can handle the pressure of strong competition and it proved to be a very good move. Her competition at State has a 5:03 best this season and so having a 5 flat under her belt is going to help... but I think that 2:19 for the 800 is what might be her biggest secret weapon (oops, maybe not a secret any more!) next Wednesday.
Sprints: The girls 400 at this division appears to be a very tight race with Harding's Emory Miller seeded between a couple other 59's. Emory has a 59.53 best in the distance but also has a 26.80 and 12.94 in the 200/100 respectively. That's some speed to watch out for. And you'll be watching for quite a while since this girl is also just an 8th grader!
See you on the track,