Here's some of the boys from Memphis to watch for at the State Track & Field Meet
Division 1, Small
Triple/Long: Memphis Middle College senior Calvin Benjamin is seeded at 39-5 but has jumped over 40' this season and is likely to be considered for a high spot on the podium next week. Memphis Academy of Health Sciences senior Kendell Ducksworth is a 20-2.5 long jumper who can fly.
High Jump: Raleigh-Egypt's Chardarious Chaffin is the overall top seed with his 6-4 leap. Tyler Simmons (Mem Business) is another strong higher jumper that could put these two Memphis athletes at the two top podium spots.
100/200 Sprints: Long jumper Kendell Ducksworth has a 22.65 in the 200 and with his over 20' long jump skill, could be a good one to watch at these state events. But Melrose's Jermain Dodson has a 22.00 run that puts him in the top seed spot for this division.
Hurdles: Melrose has never had a shortage of good hurdlers, and Montavious Cooper is proving that statement with his 15.49 top seed for this meet in the 100 hurdles. Montavious also is tightly grouped near the top in the 300's at 41.84. Mitchell kind of sandwiches him with Detarious Harris (41.77) and Darien Johnson (42.58) right there with him.
Division 1, Large
Long jump: Germantown's Aeneas Reed Jr has PR of 22-10 and that is what puts him at the top seed for this event. Ripley's TJ Edler (21-10.5) and Memphis Central's Dohnovon Hunt (21-10.0) make up a group of Memphis jumpers that can podium with how tightly packed all these athletes are in this event.
110 Hurdles: White Station and Bartlett have the top two seeds with Shamari Covington (14.21) and Kylan Bernard (14.32) respectively having the best times out of their sectionals. In this race, pretty much anything goes and trying to predict a winner is a fools game for sure. Kylan is a top seed in the 300 hurdles (38.30) with Memphis Centrals' Dohnovon Hunt sneaking up right behind him in 38.84. Add in Centrals' Morcellous Harris (39.58) and Germantown's Aeneas Reed Jr (39.92), that makes 4 out of the top 5 qualifiers. Another Memphis strong moment!
Sprints: The 100M dash is going to be nothing less than spectacular.... And close! Memhis Central's Jordan Ware is seeded at 10.79 and that's a blink of an eye off the top spot. Jordan does that better in the 200 with a top seed of 21.63. However, Jordan ran a 21.29 during the prelims of the Sectional and that time puts him at the top mark in the State this season... so far!
The 400M dash has a strong group of Memphis area sprinters. White Station's Courtland Noble (48.84) and Whitehaven's Terrick Johnson (48.91) take the 1 and 2 seed spots. Memphis Central adds a couple more to watch with Khalid White (49.64) and Quincy Briggs (49.92) to put all four Memphis qualifiers in the top 6 entries.
Relays: A couple of power house relay teams will have a showdown in the 4x200. Memphis Central comes into the State meet with a #1 overall in the state with 1:26.46. That is followed by a 1:28.50 by Whitehaven. Tough to say anything else than... that is FAST! Central also has a pretty fast 4x100 that is seeded at 42.75 but has run a 42.58 earlier in the season. There are times when a track meet comes down to the 4x400 to determine who takes everything home. Can't say it'll be that way this year, but there seems to be a bit of a pending battle between a group of Memphis area teams. Bartlett comes into this State meet with a 3:22.98 seed, followed by White Station at 3:23.50 and then Memphis Central in the top 3rd seed at 3:23.54. Who will get the bragging rights on this race for the Memphis area... and state!
Distance: Bartlett's Landen McNair is clearly the top distance runner for this division out of the Memphis area. Landen comes in with a 4:20.70 in the 1600 and a 1:54.14 in the 800. Both of these are the #2 seed for the meet. The 800 time is Landen's PR for the season and although the 1600 isn't his PR, he has run a 4:14.12 at the Panther Relays. These will be some fast races for sure.
Division 2, Small
Pole Vault: There are some pretty solid vaulters in the D2 small division and Harding's Cole Galbreath is certainly making his senior year count. His 12-7 vault in the Region meet is a new PR (granted, by an inch) sets him up in the top group of this division. Cole started out with a 9-6 in his first meet of the season and so you can say he really has notched it up since then!
Jumps: Harding is bringing some pretty impressive jumpers this season. Monterius Williams (Harding) ranks as the top seed in the Triple with a 42-0.75 triple jump made at his Region meet but also has jumped 42-11.5 from earlier in the year. A couple of high jumpers from Harding look impressive with Jaxon Toney at a 6-2 and Justin Davis jumping 6-0 to round out a very close field at State with four in at the 6-0 mark.
Shot & Discus: There are some pretty solid throwers this season among all the divisions and ECS's Dietrick Pennington is the best for the D2 Small. Throwing a record 54-2.5 at the Region meet puts him way out in front in the shot this season for this division. Lausanne's Ethan Dabbs and Hardings Joshua Dabney may not be at the same spot as Dietrick, but look to get close to him on the podium as well in the shot. Jamal Mitchel (Harding, 163-02), Dietrick (152-1) and Joshua (147-07) end up being the leaders in the discus.
Distance: The 1600 in this division looks pretty close from top to bottom. Sitting right about in the middle of the group is Northpoint's Noah Carpenter (4:32.63) and Harding's Andy Henton (4:32.71). With how tight this race looks to be, it could be anyone sitting on the very top of the podium next week. The 800 is always a race that is fun to watch and sitting on the cusp of the 2 minute mark is Evangelical Christian's Garrett Wilson (2:00.67). Garrett ran that to win his Region championship but has clocked a 1:59.68 earlier at the Dragon Relays and a 1:59.98 at the Houston Classic this season, so you know he can drop it lower in the heat of the State competition. And heat it probably will be with forecast in the 90's next week!
Sprints: A few sprinters to look out for at State is Harding's Justin Davis in the 110 Hurdles. He's seeded at 16.54 and 42.93 in the 300 Hurdles. He's run slightly faster this season but appears ready to break out a fast 300 race at State the way his trend is looking. I'd also keep an eye out on Harding's 4x100 team. They typically can run a fast race and peak at the state meet. They are seeded at 44.36, which is the fastest they've run this season. Doing that at the Region meet does validate the peaking at the right time thought too! Lausanne and ECS are right there as well with 44.56 and 44.93 to make three teams Memphis D2 small schools getting into the State meet this season.
Division 2, Large
Shot & Discus: From the Memphis area D2 Large schools, it's hands down an easy call to say that Christian Brothers has the best throwers around! Having qualified 3 in the Shot and 2 in the Discus, they are strong in these events Of course, that's not unusual to hear. DJ Harden tossed a 59-11.50 (what??? a half inch... you couldn't just say 60!) at the Region meet and watching him do that was impressive. Like tossing a softball! Patrick Kutas and BJ Robinson both threw over 51 at Regions (51-8.5 and 51.4.5 respectively). BJ lead the way for the Brothers in the Discus with his win at Regions after tossing it 150-0 and Patrick at 135-8 to get both those guys to State.
Pole Vault: This is always one of my favorite events, it's what I did in high school. Memphis University School and Christian Brothers bring in two 12 foot vaulters. Both vaulted 12 at the Region meet. What's even more scary, Wyatt Solberg (MUS) and Cole Hungate (CBHS) are both just sophomores.
Sprints: Don't blink your eyes at this years D2 Large 100M race... all eight of the qualifiers are under 11. Leading in front is CBHS's Jaxon Hammond who ran 10.85 and on the other end of this super fast group is Whit Collard at 10.99. Jaxon will run the 200 also and his seed is 22.07. CBHS has another fast one in the 200 as well, Dallan Hayden at 22.34 and rounding out the speedsters in the 200 is MUS's Yasir Mohammad, an 8th grader who ran 22.82.
Distance: I'm going to start with the 800M run. CBHS qualified three of their guys in this event. None of them seniors. The fastest seed for CBHS is Jake Ryan (1:59.96) followed by Kaleb Smith (2:01.22, um... a freshman) and Parker Russ who clocked 2:03.08). Jake has run a 1:56.09, Parker has run a 2:00.69, and Kaleb a 2:00.78 this season, so their Region times don't quite tell the whole story of what these guys can do. Jake is also going to run the 1600. Jake won the Region in 4:28.22 but must like running closer to the Nashville area since he ran a 4:20.85 to win that event at the Charlie Harper relays.
Relays: Christian Brothers did a nice job in the Relays and qualified all four for State. The 4x800 is seeded at 8:37.47 but that may not be the exact picture with these guys since they've run faster. The 4x100 is sitting at the top seed with their best run of the season at 42.75 and the 4x200 about middle of the pack in a 1:32.56, which also is their best of the season. The Brothers have a faster time than their seed in the 4x400 and so it'll be interesting to see how these guys race next week. I wouldn't say they are stacked with 400 runners, but they seem to be running a lot better this month and so this should be fun to watch.
That's it for the Memphis area guys to be on the look out for. Actually, anyone that qualified for the State tournament should be on your watch list even if I did not mention them here.
See you on the track,