Memphis Recap of the State Track and Field Championships

Memphis Recap for State Track & Field

There's always been the discussion going around as to whether the East, Middle or West areas in the state has the better track athletes. The middle clearly has the numbers advantage. Those hills in the East are long and tough. And the West is flat and a fun place to be a sprinter. But there's that saying.... That's why we run the race!

Let's start with the team rankings at the State Track & Field meets. In the D1 AAA division, the Memphis Central girls were able to squeak out a win by 5 points. And the Central boys earned a strong runner up spot this season. The D2 A division saw Harding boys take the runner up spot, well ahead of the 3rd place team. But the real impressive team this season was the Christian Brothers group! They came into this with a chance to win if all went well. Well, it didn't exactly go that well at the very beginning... but like I said, that's why we run the race. It was tight competition for most of the day. Although once the 200M dash was in the books, it got a little easier for these Brothers to relax. Winning back-to-back State Championships clearly puts CBHS team as the best in the area now.

So let's get into some of the highlights from the three days of Track & Field this past week.

It's hard to talk about Memphis area track athletes without mentioning that fast kid from Memphis Central, Jordan Ware. How fast? How about top 5 in the nation fast. Thursdays AAA 100M race was set up as a kind of a showdown between of some of the fastest seniors in the state. Taking about a tenth of a second off his previous best, that 10.13 State Record time made it clear who is the best Senior in that race, and the state. That's probably a record that will stay on the books for a very long time! And then later in the night, Jordan takes home another state record with his 20.63 in the 200M dash.

Another Central athlete, Zavien Wolfe, made a run of it with his win in the long jump. His 24-7 was his third jump of the season at 24 or better and only an inch and a quarter off his personal best. There was a lot of expectations for Zavien in the triple having already leaped over 50 earlier in the season. With tape all around his upper leg and left knee, Zavien settled for a runner up spot. Whitehaven's Tayshun Thomas got the upset with a 49-00.5 leap that was almost a foot PR for the Fort Scott commitment.

I thought those Bulldog socks would have carried Zavien a few more inches, but that wasn't the case - this time at least (he's a Georgia commitment). Zavien still keeps his strong standing as the best in the horizontals this year!  

The Central girls had some incredible performances across the board as well. Jaitlyn Ware, also a Mississippi State commitment, set a new PR for her 100M dash getting runner up in the 100 with her 11.79. Then came back and won the 200 - with another strong PR - in 24.04. And keeping up with the boys, the Central girls 4x100 relay took the top spot with a 46.99 that places them at the top of the State's rankings as well. They also ran a 1:38.86 in the 4x200 to set a top ranked spot there as well.

The AAA girls triple jump was a really fun event to watch this year. Central's Akira Simpson was a long foot and a couple inches ahead of everyone when she jumped a personal best of 40-4 and set a new standard for the state with that leap. Not a bad day when your newest PR moves to the top of the State rankings! I'm going to stay with Central's girls for a second before going onto some other Memphis area highlights. Denver Winters, another senior took the 100M hurdles top spot and a bronze in the 300 hurdles.  

It would seem Central girls had a good run at the top spots in a variety of events at the State meet. White Stations Khari Webb, a 9th grader, ran a 43.41 in the 300M Hurdles. That was Khari's best 300's this season and vaulted her to the top of the 300M rankings as well. There were 3 Memphis area girls in the top 4 of this race - Khari at 1st, Denver Winters at 3rd (44.65) and Kassidy Davis (White Station) 4th in 45.52.

Kassidy is a sophomore. Hurdling out of Memphis is looking good for a while!  

Two girls from Houston took victories on the track as well. The 400M girls race was one that Eva Gautreaux has had her eyes on for a couple of years but came up just short her Sophomore and Junior season's placing 3rd two years in a row. She left no doubt this year as she gapped the field by over a second on Thursday running 55.97. She ends her scholastic season ranked #1 overall in event with a 55.70 run at the Sectional

In the distance races, Houston High's Zoe Marsh just crossed the finish line in 10:59.49 to slide into the winners circle for the 3200M race. Zoe doesn't race the 3200M very much, but this season she's put in a few races at the distance. That win gives Zoe her third time under the 11 minute mark so far. Zoe also came in runner up in the 1600 earlier in the race with a 5:02.25. That was a couple seconds over her PR time, which makes the 3200M win even that much more impressive!

Back to the boys AAA for a second. Running a 1:52.69 was White Stations Jarryn Lowe. That too was a new PR for the speedster and another Memphis runner to take a win home at the State meet.

The boys 4x400 relay ended up being a tight race with a couple of Memphis teams going head to head. The Collierville boys (3:16.87) turned in a win over the White Station team (3:17.14)

Over to the D1AA San'Darius Coleman (Covington) made that tough double of winning the 400 (48.30) and 800 (1:56.70). That tends to be a tough double, especially after the 400 was a new PR for the Bethel commitment. The relays in this division was a good spot for Memphis area teams. Ripley took first in the 4x100 (43.42) with Melrose second in 43.65. Munford and Melrose duked it out in the 4x200 (AA division) with Munford winning in 1:30.09. The single A class was won by Memphis Middle College High in time close to the AA class - 1:30.30.

Memphis Academy of Science & Engineering was second in that race with 1:31.16. 

Christian Burford (Memphis Middle College) was the winner in the 1A 400 dash in 58.50. Memphis East pulled off multiple relay victories on Tuesday. The lady Mustangs won the 4x400 for the single A division in 4:09.47, with star senior Alyssa Raymond anchoring in her final high school race. The East boys also pulled off a victory in the 4x800, winning in 8:32.55. They were followed by two other West Tennessee teams, Adamsville High School in second and Memphis Middle college in third with times of 8:41.55 and 8:46.07 respectively. 

Now I'm going to take some time to review the D2 Classes. 

The Division 2 A class had some distance boys doing pretty well. In the 800, Garrett Wilson (ECS) ran 1:58.72 to win and Sammy Mohamed (Harding) won the 3200 in a new PR of 9:41.72. I've said it before, setting a PR at the State meet is always a nice way to end the season!

Justin Davis (Harding) was a solid double winner taking the long jump (21-10.5) and Triple (44-7) at the State meet. Justin had a busy day since he also took the bronze spot in both the 110M (15.32) and 300M hurdles (41.30). And another solid double winner for the D2A class was St. George's thrower, Jamez Jordan. Throwing a 147-6 in the Discus to tie his best throw (which was a the Region meet) was impressive. However, getting a Shot out there for a 49-1.5 career best was even more impressive!

The girls D2A had a good thrower out there for Lausanne in Lucy Fisher as she won the Discus with a 119-5.0 toss. The behind her was Erica McGary (Harding, 116-2), St. George's Tyra Benton (109-5) and then Leia Harper (Harding, 90-10) to set a 1-4 sweep from the Memphis area girls. Rounding out the D2A girls was a strong run in the 4x100 by the St. George's team in 49.15 that was just ahead of Harding's team (49.35).

Now to cover the D2AA class. I'm saving the boys for last, so the girls first. This was a tough year for the girls in D2AA as Caroline Weems of St. Agnes was the only one of the girls from the Memphis area to stand on the top of the podium. She vaulted 12-6 to take that spot with ease. St. Mary's Amalia Shapiro (6th place) and Emmie Infeld (7th) were the next two Memphis area girls to score.

On the boys side, as I mentioned at the beginning of the article, CBHS defended their title and won this year in an exciting day long meet. There were several stars of the show, but Jaxon Hammond likely would be at the top with a win in the 100M (10.35) and 200 (21.15).

But earlier in the day, I was standing on the track near the finishers podiums when I saw a discus go rolling in front of me. That was because Ashton Hearn just tossed a massive 185-4 throw to get a win in that event and get the Brothers off to a strong early start.

Charlie Harrell, who was a convert to Track after trying his luck at baseball, was able to get a runner up spot in the Triple jump (45-01.5). That was with a tweaked ankle that he got during the long jump (22-0.5 and 6th place). There weren't any more first place finishers for the Brothers in the field events, but they came into the meet with depth and no doubt a sense of urgency to score as many points before the runs started as they could.

Among the ones already mentioned, the scorers in the field events were Ben Rouse (42-7 in Triple), Santiago Calderoni (22-4.5 in Long), Ben Rouse (13-6 in pole vault), Zach Davenport (138-6 in Discus), Tristian Johnson (54-0) and Ashton Hearn (48-4) both in the shot.

But in my opinion, this is what started the Purple Wave to roll into a Tsunami... the first running event of the afternoon, the 4x800 relay. This was pegged as a very close race between a few of the best distance teams in the state. Montgomery Bell, McCallie and Christian Brothers. And what a race it was! The first and second legs started out with all three teams battling for position. In the third lap, CBHS fell a bit behind. But again, this is why we run the race. The fourth leg started with CBHS having a fairly large deficit and a difficult task ahead. But again, this is why we run the race.... Chaz Jones took the baton and started his race.  After the first lap, it still looked like a tall ask to get into first place. But somehow adrenaline, excitement, determination, team pride.... probably all the above had Chaz sprinting past the McCallie leader and across the finish line in dramatic fashion that got the spectators on their feet and cheering as loud as I've heard all week! Brilliant kick. Breathtaking win.  That was the spark that the CBHS engine seemed to need to kick off the afternoon running events.

Right after that is when Jaxon won the 100M dash. The 4x100 team ran to a runner up spot (42.12) and kept them ahead of the chasing McCallie team. Later that evening, Kaleb Smith won the 800 in 1:56.63 and Joe Edwards got in a tight 3rd (1:58.16). Chaz Jones was in that race as well and came in 8th to add a point for the team, but understandably so, was a bit tired and knew his one point was helping the team and that's all he needed to do. Jaxon won the 200 after that and the 4x400 team ran 3:32.46 to keep points on the board for the team. All in all, enough points to take home the team trophy for the second year in a row.

Overall, I'd say Memphis put on a pretty good show this year at the State meet. There's a lot going on in the Memphis area when it comes to Track & Field. The future looks bright with a lot of younger athletes. I counted through the D2AA girls and boys and 30% of the field were seniors. That's 70% of the competitors could be coming back next year. I know in Memphis there is a major push for the Elementary and Middle school track programs - with the Memphis Youth Athletics (MYA) bringing a thousand or so kids through each meet during the season, this certainly is going to have a huge impact on the future of Track in the Memphis area. Heck, look at how strong the performances have been this season. Track is looking pretty good around Memphis and the rest of the State! You gotta love that!

See you on the track,

Coach Ted