Nobody better than the Panthers, BHS sweeps 5A Track and Field state titles

Published 4:03 pm Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Editor’s note: For more in-depth coverage of the individual state champions from BHS, check the weekend edition of The Daily Leader. Video interviews will also be released beginning Thursday via the “Inside Sports” tab on our website.


The Brookhaven High Track and Field team is one that carries a reputation throughout the state.

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When the yellow school buses roll up with “Brookhaven School District” down their side, everyone else knows that the champs are in the house.

On Saturday at Pearl High, the Panthers made it a clean sweep for the second time in three years, winning both the MHSAA 5A state titles in girls’ and boys’ track and field. It is the third straight state title for the girls’ team and the second in three years for the boys’ side.

The boys’ team was co-champs with Canton High as both teams finished with 110 points, followed by Corinth High with 92 points. The girls’ team crushed their competition, outscoring second place Pontotoc High 153 to 106.

“Both teams competed at a high level and came up victorious,” said BHS track coach Darien Dorsey. Dorsey coaches the teams along with Tonya Johns, Jocelyn Robinson and Peter Kettle.

“What we did throughout the playoff run put us in a situation where we had a lot of team members qualify for the state meet and that gave us an opportunity to get points in a majority of the events,” said Dorsey. “There were only two events on the boys’ side that we weren’t in and we had multiple athletes in most events. On the girls’ side, there were only three events we didn’t have someone com-peting in.”


Deep roster pushes Panthers to another boys’ title

The Canton boys were strong in the sprints, as the Tigers got first place finishes in the 100-meter and 200-meter dash from senior Antoine Spillman. His senior teammate La’Javeon Griffin was third in the 100-meters and second in the 200-meters. 

That same duo also went one and two in the 400-meter dash, with Spillman again just edging Griffin out. The Tigers also got a second placed finish in the 800-meter run from senior Elijah Lewis.

Two years ago, the Brookhaven High boys knew they would dominate the distance events and use those wins along with the efforts of former state champion and current Mississippi College thrower Brodie Ezell in the discus to stack up the points.

This team was different though and a year after finishing third behind Ridgeland and Hattiesburg, the Panthers knew they would be favorites with those two programs moving up to the 6A ranks during reclassification.

The title was won by a deep group that had varied success throughout the long day and then long night that’s needed to finish a big track meet.

The only gold medal finish on the track for the Panthers was the 4×100 relay team winning first place, as they edged out their district rivals from North Pike by nine tenths of a second.

North Pike beat BHS in the 4×100 when Brookhaven High hosted the Region 3-5A meet on April 16. The Panthers bounced back to avenge that loss later in the month at 5A South State in Hattiesburg.

Freshman Jaden Allen, sophomore Caiden Quarles, sophomore Zeden Williams and senior Nathan Lewis make up the gold medal winning relay team. Williams is a relay specialist, competing on three teams for the Panthers. He was part of a 4×400 relay team that finished third. Running with Williams in that race were Jamen Wright, Joshua Wing and William Buie.

It was in the field events where BHS got its two individual first place finishes on the day.

Senior football star and Mississippi State signee Xavier Gayten won the high jump competition with an effort of 6-feet, two inches. Gayten had won the 5A South State competition a week earlier in Hattiesburg.

Freshman Coderro McDaniel did not win the shot put at 5A South State, he finished about a foot behind a hurler from East Central on that day. McDaniel saved his best for last, tossing the shot for his season best effort of 44 feet and 11 inches, good enough to beat the entire field, which included Jef-frey Jackson of East Central, the same person that beat him at the south state meet.

Gayten and McDaniel weren’t the only heroes in the field competition for the Panthers as senior Waltrelle Smith had a huge day, finishing second in the long jump and triple jump. His teammate, Lewis, finished third in the long jump as well.

Smith had longer leaps in both events than he did a week earlier at the south state competition, where he also finished second in both.

Also competing for the Panthers in the state meet were Markiell Robinson, Kelan Quarles, A’Semiyon Smith, Kemarion Brown, Dylan Bracey and Coleman Knott.


BHS girls dominate in winning third-straight title

The true greatness of the BHS girls’ team was on display throughout the day.

The senior duo of Chrisiyona Quarles and Sierra Edwards paced their team. Quarles won the 200-meter dash and came in second to Edwards in both the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles.

Edwards was the defending 300-meter hurdle champion in 5A and finished second in the event as a sophomore.

Both Quarles and Edwards ran as part of the 4×400 relay team that won gold for the Panthers on Saturday. Joining them on the relay were senior Jasmine Robertson and freshman Jaysha Johnson.

The 4×800 relay team also brought back gold for Brookhaven High, an event they have now won three years in a row. The 4×800 relay team this year was made up of Robertson, eighth-grader Brooklyn Lenoir, junior Ariyana Graham and freshman Isabella Iles.

Iles, the top runner for the Brookhaven High cross-country team in the fall, also brought back an individual state title when she won the 1,600-meter run. Iles was second in the 3,200-meter run as well.

Sophomore Kema Roberts won the shotput competition in dominating fashion. Roberts winning toss went over 105 feet, which was nearly 10 feet better than the second-place finisher.

The 4×200 relay team of Jones, Jessi’Auna McCalup, J’Kariya Williams and Aniyah Williams also brought back a second-place finish.

Jontasia Stepney, Annabelle Summers, Christiana Smith and Anila Harris all additionally competed for the Panthers at the state meet.

“We were blessed with a great group of seniors that showed leadership and accountability,” said Dorsey. “Expectations have changed, and the underclassmen understand that. We have a great coaching staff that motivates and encourages our athletes to compete at a high level during practice. That makes them confident in themselves to compete and win.”