Meridian High School track and field coach Regonal Walker needed someone to compete in the hurdles. He turned to senior Sa’Nya McPhail.

She embraced the challenge, as it was something she had wanted to do for a few years now, and it paid off. McPhail finished second in the 300-meter hurdles at the MHSAA Class 6A meet with a time of 47.19. She also placed seventh in the 100-meter hurdles (16.69) and was part of MHS’s 4X200-meter and 4X400-meter relay teams.

Because of her standout season, McPhail has been named The Meridian Star’s Premier Preps girls track and field Athlete of the Year.

Sa’Nya McPhail

Sa’Nya McPhail

“It’s a surprise, and it’s a great honor,” said McPhail, who was also a member of MHS’s 4X800-meter relay state championship team when she was an eighth grader. “That’s a big thing.”

Walker said McPhail’s dedication is what stood out the most, and he was grateful for her to receive the recognition from The Star.

“She’s a competitor,” Walker said. “Whatever she did, whatever event I put her in, she was going to give me 110%. When she got the batons or was in the box for the hurdles, I knew I was going to get that from her. I’m grateful that she’s that invested and that she trusted me enough to do the things I asked her to do. She’s well-deserving of (the accolade).”

The 300- and 100-meter hurdles were new for McPhail, but she was able to adjust quickly.

“I’m just versatile,” McPhail said. “Coach Walker put me on hurdles because he knew I could do it, and I ran the 400 (meters) and 800 (meters), so that kind of helped me go into the hurdles more smoothly.”

When she wasn’t running hurdles, McPhail was collecting or passing the baton in her two relay events, and she said she didn’t mind the workload at all.

“I just knew I could do it, and I like helping my team out,” McPhail said. “I like relays.”

Perhaps her biggest fan is her mother, Dawanda Corey, and McPhail said she wouldn’t be the standout track athlete she is without her mother’s dedication.

“She’s my main supporter,” McPhail said. “She’s helped me through all these years, and she’s a single mom, so she had to do everything on her own, and I’m really grateful for that.”

Last month, McPhail signed with Grambling, and she plans to compete as a heptathlete at the next level.

“I didn’t want to go there at first,” McPhail said. “My siblings go there, and my mom thought it would be a good idea for me to go there, so she called the coaches and talked to them and got my scholarship. That’s a lot of events I have to learn. I’ve never high jumped or long jumped before, so that’s going to be something different.”

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