High School Sports

South Mississippi athletes in the running for gold at state meet

Plenty of Coast athletes will be in search of medals and trophies when the MHSAA State Track & Field Championships take place at Pearl High School on Friday and Saturday. The Class 2A, 4A and 6A meet takes place Friday while Class 1A, 3A and 5A start competition on Saturday.

The Coast's long-distance runners appear to be the most likely to bring back individual medals.

St. Patrick senior Ramsey Wagner, who has signed with Army West Point, will aim for three more gold medals Saturday in the Class 3A girls' 800-meter, 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter runs. She won three golds in 2014 and two golds and a silver in 2015.

Pass Christian senior Regen McGee will also be a favorite to bring home gold Friday after winning the Class 4A girls' 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter runs a year ago.

Also on Friday, East Central senior Chandler Underwood has a good shot at bringing home medals in the Class 4A boys' long distance runs.

The St. Patrick girls will seek their first team state title since 2011 in Class 3A Saturday.

The Long Beach girls will be in the hunt for a 5A team title on Saturday after taking second behind Natchez at 5A South State on Monday.

"We've had teams when I was at Biloxi for 17 years where they finished second at South State and turned around and won the state championship," Long Beach coach Olan Welch said. "It's still possible to win a state championship. Two teams, the champion and the runner-up, get trophies and we're looking to get a trophy. We're hoping to get a state championship trophy."

Following a fifth place finish at 6A South State, Gulfport coach Marcus Polk is hoping for a rebound in Pearl for his boys squad.

"At the state meet, anything can happen," Polk said. "Last year, a team (Olive Branch) won it that wasn't projected to win. We'll show up and compete and see where the cards lie at the end of the day."

There are many other individual athletes are looking to claim medals over the weekend:

Pascagoula senior Hannah Emery appears to be a strong competitor in the 5A girls' 100-meter dash after registering a state-best time at 12.29 at South State.

The Gulfport boys have a good shot at competing in the 4x100-meter relay. They have the second best time (43.09) behind Madison Central (43.09) entering Friday's meet.

D'Iberville features a strong candidate in 6A boys hurdles in sophomore Christopher Hudnall, has the state's best time in the 110-meter hurdles at 14.57. He should receive a challenge from Gulfport senior Shakim Buckley, who has the second-best time at 14.79.

Biloxi has strong 6A medal candidates in boys long-jumper Tyler Varnado and girls shot-putter Aneisha Bell. The Indians placed third in 6A South State.

Vancleave sophomore Lina May is also headed to Pearl with a good chance to medal in the 4A girls' 800-meter run.

St. Stanlislaus freshman pole-vaulter Taylor Necaise and sophomore teammate Richard Alarcon enter their event with the two best vaults in Class 4A boys.

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