Alexander triumphs in inaugural MHSAA Middle School state track meet

Published 11:00 am Saturday, April 15, 2023

The Brookhaven High School track and field team is one that carries a reputation of being among the strongest, deepest teams in the state.

This week, the feeder program at Alexander Junior High showed the future is bright and that the tradition is in strong shape in regard to Panthers on the track.

The MHSAA hosted a statewide Middle School Classic on Tuesday at Pearl High and the AJH boys’ team finished in first place in a meet that drew teams from all corners of the Magnolia State for a first of its kind event.

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Eighth grader Jaden Allen won both sprints for the black and gold wearing Panthers from Alexander.

Allen finished his season unbeaten in both races by running the 100-meter in 11.47 seconds and the 200-meter dash in 23.16 seconds on Tuesday.

Allen also placed third in the long jump on Tuesday.

The Panthers also got a first placed finish in the 110-meter hurdles from eighth grader A’Semiyon Smith. Smith finished his race with a time of 17.00 seconds.

Back during cross-country season, eighth grader Cooper Wallace was among the top distance runners in the state.

On Tuesday, Wallace kept that momentum going by winning the 800-meter and 1600-meter runs. Wallace finished the 800-meter with a time of 2:09.

His winning time in the 1600-meter (4:56) was just three seconds ahead of his classmate and teammate Coleman Knott.

AJH finished in second place behind Northwest Rankin in both the 4×100 and 4×200 relays.

Members of the 4×100 relay team were Cortavian Dixon, Christopher Sanders, Tristion Thomas and Allen.

Members of the 4×200 relay team were Matthew Bonson, Dixon, Sanders and Thomas.

Thomas also finished in second place in the high jump.

CoDerro McDaniel, a 6-foot-6, 290-pound eighth grader at AJH, got third place in the discus throw.

On the girls’ side of the action, eighth grader Isabella Iles earned second place behind Grace Hoeniges in both the 800-meter and 1600-meter races. Like Wallace, Iles was one of the best middle school cross-country runners in the state back in the fall.

The AJH track team is coached by Kwinsi Bridges (boys) and Markeyta Wilson (girls).

“I am proud of the season the team had and the work they put in,” said Bridges. “We had experience and leadership from last year’s team which helped foster our new members and provide accountability. As we won and found out that the MHSAA was putting on this event, we saw our times and distances were as good or better than some of the top programs in the state and I knew we had a chance to win. I am so thankful to the administration and staff at Alexander, the Brookhaven Athletics Department and our parents for their support through the season. I’m also thankful for the MHSAA in giving us this opportunity to compete and the experience it gave our students.”