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Chargers coast to region championships

Oxford’s track teams continued to run away from the competition over the weekend.

After winning their respective division meets by more than 200 combined points, the Chargers’ boys and girls cruised to the Region 1-5A titles on Saturday at Bobby Holcomb Field. The boys’ team (240 points) leaned on 13 first-place finishes to top runner-up Center Hill by 86 points while the girls (235) finished 65 points ahead of Center Hill with the help of 14 event titles.

More importantly for the Chargers, they qualified 43 participants for the upcoming Class 5A North Half championships, the final meets before the MHSAA state championships early next month.

“We showed a lot of promise across the board, which is good heading into the North Half,” Oxford coach Chris Bush said. “North Half is going to be a big meet. The dogs come out in North Half, and you have to be on your A game. I feel like we’re doing what we need to. At this point, the money is in the bank. We’re honing, we’re sharpening and getting ready.”

The boys, which had more than half of those North Half qualifiers, got a pair of first-place finishes from Jaquan Webb and D.K. Metcalf. Webb won the 100 meters with a time of 10.72 seconds while leading the pack in the 200 meters with a time 21.62. Metcalf ran 15.11 to win the 110-meter hurdles and took the triple jump title with a distance of 43 feet, 10.75 inches.

The highlight of the day came from James Burnett, who set a school record in the 400 meters with a winning time of 48.18, breaking the record previously held by his coach. Burnett, who finished just .52 seconds ahead of Center Hill’s Alvin Westbrook, now holds the school record in the 400 in indoor and outdoor meets.

“He had good competition there,” Bush said of Burnett’s run. “Center Hill was able to push him today, and we’ve been waiting on that. Two years ago when he started running, I told everybody that if anybody’s going to break my record, it’s going to be James Burnett. It was very good to see him reach that goal today.”

Other first-place finishers for Oxford were Kenard Harris in the 800 meters (2:00.03), Ken Presley in the 300-meter hurdles (39.67), Jacquez Neilson in the shot put (42-4) and D.Q. Thomas in the discus throw (132-8). The Chargers also swept the relay titles with the 4×100 team setting a personal best time of 41.82.

Lady Chargers

Freshman Addie Thompson was a two-time winner for Oxford’s girls, taking first place in the 1,600 meters with a time of 5:51.72 as well as the 3,200 meters with a time of 12:54.87. Tiara King ran in 12.66 to place first in the 100 meters, Kadijah Ramsey finished in 25.07 to win the 200 meters, Jakiara Dunn finished in 1:00.45 to win the 400 meters, Swayze Elliott clocked in at 2:34.13 to win the 800 meters, and Ashley Epps turned in a time of 47.60 to win the 300-meter hurdles.

Charli Kendricks took the pole vault title, clearing the bar at 9-6. Bryanda Cannon won the long jump with a distance of 16-11.5 while Shamequa Vaughn recorded a distance of 33-3 to win the shot put. Oxford’s girls also won all four relays with the Chargers holding off Center Hill by less than two seconds in the 4×100.

The girls’ team will have 21 participants in the North Half meet, including freshman Katelyn Rock, who qualified in the 800 meters with a personal record of 2:37.31.

“Right now, it’s all about getting that top-4 spot and qualifying because the more numbers we get into the state meet, the more points we can get,” Oxford girls coach Chris Patton said. “We’ve got one more important week, and it is going to be tough.”

The North Half championship meets will be held Saturday at Bobby Holcomb Field.