Vicksburg faces last hurdle before state meet|[4/29/06]

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 1, 2006

Two legs are down but two more are left for the Vicksburg Missy Gators as they chase an elusive state title in girls track and field. The third leg of the quest begins today at Tupelo High School when the Missy Gators and Gators vie for the Class 5A North State title.

The Missy Gators easily won the Region 2-5A meet last week at Memorial Stadium, beating second-place Madison Central by 58 points (173-115). It was a far more dominating performance given that Vicksburg won the Division 3-5A title over Madison Central by just five points.

Still, Missy Gators coach Deborah Brown feels her team can do better.

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&#8220We’ve got one or two girls who are bringing it every time they come to the track but we need the others to mimic what they do,” Brown said. &#8220There’s still a lot of work to do because we’re going north.”

The Missy Gators qualified themselves in 16 of the 17 events. The lone miss was the pole vault, where they had no one to begin with.

&#8220We’ve got someone in all 16 events that we started with and we’re deeper now than we’ve been in the past two years,” Brown said.

Rachel Jenkins and Courtney Prentiss remain the key catalysts for the Missy Gators.

Jenkins won all three of her events last week, sweeping the triple jump, high jump and long jump.

Prentiss is the reigning Class 5A champion in the 100 and 200 meters. She won both easily last week while also anchoring the 4×100 and 4×200 relay teams.

Prentiss said that giving up softball has helped her concentration in the sprints.

&#8220I’m only dealing with one sport this time, in the past it’s been two. I’m more concerned about getting my times down because that’s what is going to get me a (track) scholarship somewhere,” Prentiss said.

While Prentiss is the dominant sprinter in 5A, she still trails the state’s top rated trackster in Ridgeland’s Bianca Knight. Ridgeland competes in Class 4A, and the two sprinters will not race head-to-head this season.

”She’s become that good because she’s spends more time on the track. She goes all year,” Prentiss said of Knight, who is on the cusp of becoming a world-class sprinter.

In the meantime, Prentiss is focused on delivering a team title to Vicksburg.

&#8220We’re qualified in more events at this time than we were last year and I really think we’re a stronger team,” she said.

The Vicksburg boys head into North State after winning both the division and regional meets.

&#8220All we’ve been talking about is getting qualified and keep advancing to the next round. We beat some pretty tough competitiion last week with Clinton, Greenville and Madison Central. We just need to keep getting points where we can,” VHS coach Toriano Wells said.

Vicksburg outpointed Greenville 124 to 105.5 last week by sweeping all three relay events. Dekores Branch had the lone individual win, taking the discus.

Warren Central had just three qualifiers for the North State meet. Geroid Chambliss will compete in the 110 meter hurdles while Spencer Wilkerson will be in the pole vault. Samantha Butler was the lone qualifier in the long jump for the Lady Vikes.

The St. Aloysius track and field team will be at St. Andrew’s today for the Class 1A South State meet.

Holly Fagan and Heather Calnan were winners at last week’s regional meet and should ease through to qualify for next week’s state meet. Fagan won the 800 meter run while Calnan qualified in the shot and discus. The Lady Flashes also got all three of their relay teams through.

St. Al’s Bray Jones won the 300 meter hurdles at last week’s regional meet, but will not compete at South State because of a shoulder injury.