CHARGERS TAKE TWO: Oxford makes history, sweeps 5A state titles for first time in same year
PEARL — When the day began, one Oxford track team felt good about its chances for a state championship. Come nightfall, it was both teams who were celebrating in the winner’s circle.
The Chargers’ boys and girls track and field teams claimed the MHSAA Class 5A state titles in convincing fashion Saturday at the Woody Barnett Track & Field Complex on the campus of Pearl High School.
It was not even close, as the championships had been decided hours before the trophies were officially handed out.
The boys won their third straight state championship, which was another first in program history, and their eighth overall with a score of 156 points, besting runner-up Canton by more than 65 points. The girls claimed their first state championship since 2012, and fourth overall, with a score of 144 points. Natchez came in second with 78 points.
“It’s a great feeling and something we’ve gotten close to these past couple years,” Oxford boys track coach Chris Bush said. “The boys have been first and the girls have been second, and it feels good to finally accomplish that. It’s a historical moment for Oxford High School track.”
The Chargers were the only teams in both 5A competitions to have their score reach triple digits.
Oxford used a combined 13 first-place finishes to sweep the state championships.
The boys claimed eight of those 13 individual state titles with all of them coming in the track events. Jonathan Tyler swept the 3,200 and 1,600 meters with times of 10 minutes, 22 seconds and 4:47.00, respectively.
James Burnett won the 400-meter dash in just over 48 seconds while Jaquan Webb claimed the 200-meter dash title with a time of 21.36. Kenard Harris claimed the 800-meter title with a time of 2:00.21.
In the relay events, Oxford won three of the four, claiming first place in the 4×800, 4×200 and 4×100 relays and coming in second in the 4×400 at the end of the day. The Chargers narrowly missed out on a record in the 4×200 but came back and set the class and overall record with a time of 41.51 in the 4×100.
“We just told each other that we weren’t going to chase a record,” senior D.K. Metcalf said. “We were just going to start running and let the records come to us. … I just thank the coaches, and it’s a great way to cap off a high school career.”
Metcalf ended his high school athletic career Saturday and came away with two first-place results and two runner-ups. He started the day for Oxford in the triple jump and came away with second with a jump of 46 feet, 3 inches. Metcalf also finished second in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.89.
The boys finished the day with five top-3 finishes and had 13 athletes place seventh or better.
Lady Chargers lap competition
Ending a three-year drought after finishing second and third in the past two state meets, respectively, the girls’ team ran away with its state title before the afternoon events had even began.
The Chargers used five first-place finishes to help pull away from the competition by lunchtime.
“We collaborate on both sides. I coach some boys and (Bush) coaches some girls,” Oxford girls coach Chris Patton said. “We’ve been working on this for a long time. It started back in the fall when we had the most kids wanting to come try out for track. From getting third two years ago to getting second last year and to be being like, ‘This isn’t going to happen again. We’re going to win this year.’ They bought in to what I was telling them.”
Monya Baskin won the shot put with a toss of 35-4 while Shamequa Vaughn came in third. Charli Kendricks won the pole vault with a jump of 9-0. Arden Davis also had an attempt of 9 feet but lost out to her teammate due to less attempts missed. In the high jump, Kathleen Patton placed second with a jump of 5-0.
In the track events, Addie Thompson swept the 3,200- and 1,600-meter races with times of 12:28.29 and 5:40.82, respectively.
The team of Jakiara Dunn, Ashley Epps, Tiara King and Kadijah Ramsey won the 4×200 relay with a time of 1:42.71. Oxford placed second in the 4×100 while placing third in the 4×800 and 4×400 relays.
King placed second in the 100-meter dash. Epps placed third in the 300-meter hurdles.
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