Meridian Star


April 3, 2014

Meridian track off to fast start

MERIDIAN — It’s been fast times at Meridian High School as both the boyís and girlís track squads have established red-hot starts, with the girlís notching five consecutive first-place finishes and the boyís claiming four of five first place finishes.

“Every meet weíve gotten better and better,” boy’s coach Reggie Walker said. “We had a good core to start with and as the season has proÍgressed, weíve added to that. We’ve shown growth in every meet.”

With 17 events across the board, the Wildcats feature a top-ten performer in each and every circuit.

Said Walker, “Comparing our times to others around the state, we have one or two kids in every event that are among the top ten in boys and girls.”

And one of those performers is senior Antonio Owens, whose drawn interest from Ole Miss and Meridian Community College.

Owens competes in both the 100 and 200 where he posted best times of 11.07 and 21.2, respectively.

“I am a speedy guy,” Owens said. “I don’t like doing longer races. Since I was in the seventh grade, I’ve been competing in these two events, and I just love doing them.”

Though the Wildcats have had a rampant start to the season, inclement weather has proven to be a difficult obstacle to overcome.

“The weather has been messing up our practices,” said Qasim Banks, who competes in the 300-hurdles and triple-jump. “We haven’t been able to get real into it, but now since the weather is starting to get better, things are starting to get going.

“We’ve been competing real well even though we havenít been getting into it a lot, weíve still been doing real well overall.”

The girl’s side is coached by Barbara Brown, who’s in her 32nd and final year as coach.

Brown, recently diagnosed with breast cancer, has served as an inspiration in her battle with cancer.

“Their whole thing this year was that they want to get the state championship for me,” Brown said. “But I just tell them to go out there and do their best.”

One of Brown’s key contributors is sophomore Keyana Boyd, a distance runner who competes in the 800, 1600 and 3200.

“There’s a lot of strategy to it,” Boyd said. “Each lap I have to have a balance so that I wonít pay for it towards the end. I have to make sure I don’t get boxed in.”

Though the Lady Wildcats have managed to get off to a hot start, progression will be key if they wish to achieve their preseason goal.

“There’s always room for improvement,” said Kiana Grant, who ranks in the state’s top-10 in both the long jump and triple jump events. “We’re undefeated right now and hopefully nobody can stop us.

“We have the right coaches and we do the right workouts.”

With 22 seniors combined, leadership among both boys and girls squads has proven to be a vital part of their success to begin the season.

“A lot of our kids take the initiative and they push each other,” Walker said. “We all work together and we all pull for each other. That’s been the center of our success.”

Added senior high jumper Jasmine Cherry, “You have to make sure everybody is doing what they are supposed to be doing. We’ve been doing what we are supposed to do in practice and it has been showing up in the meets.”

Meridian will seek to build upon their recent success when they travel to Mississippi College Saturday, and host its senior day April 12.

With two top-5 finishes in the last two years for the girls, and a state championship in 2011 for the boys, the Wildcats have established a winning program.

“They know when they come out here that youíre going to work here,” Brown said. “But they know the end result is going to be there. We are going to produce when we go and compete.

“When we get off that bus, teams know Meridian High School is in town.”

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