WC’s Qualls and Kelly medal at state track meet
Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 11, 2014
PEARL — Once again, Khadijah Qualls and Cretesha Kelly took home medals from the Class 6A state track meet.
And, once again, the color was something other than gold.
Qualls finished third in the girls 100 meter hurdles and Kelly third in the girls triple jump to earn bronze medals Saturday, as they concluded their decorated high school careers at the state meet at Pearl High School.
Qualls reached the state meet four consecutive years in the 100 meter hurdles, and finished third each of the last three years. Kelly’s bronze medal Saturday will join the two silvers she got for runner-up finishes in the triple jump in 2012 and 2013.
“I’m happy with it. I know I could’ve done better, but I’m still happy with it. It feels good,” Qualls said.
Qualls was satisfied with her run in the hurdles, considering it came at the end of a difficult stretch of the meet for her.
Her hamstring started cramping up late in the long jump competition, which caused her to flub her last two attempts and settle for a sixth-place finish. About 10 minutes later she ran the hurdles and turned in what she termed a sloppy performance.
Still, Qualls managed to finish in the middle of a virtual three-way dead heat to get the bronze medal. After winner Harper Newell of Clinton won the race in 14.58 seconds, the second through fourth place finishers were separated by eight one-hundredths of a second.
Hattiesburg’s Zaria Tillman got the silver medal in 15.08 seconds. Qualls got the bronze in 15.09, and Murrah’s Raven Cowan was the odd woman out at 15.16.
“I did kind of bad. I hit three hurdles. I guess I started getting kind of nervous halfway down, and my steps just got a little bit off and I started hitting,” Qualls said.
Kelly, by contrast, turned in her best performance ever in the triple jump — and it was still only good enough for third place.
Kelly hopped, skipped and jumped 37 feet 11 inches, a personal best and more than a foot better than her mark at the North State meet last week.
Hattiesburg’s Tillman, however, jumped 38 feet, 5 inches to win and Desoto Central’s Nay Strickland got the silver medal with a mark of 38-2 3/4.
Tillman improved on her mark from the South State meet by 15 inches. Strickland, who was seeded seventh out of eight jumpers in the state meet, improved by more than three feet.
“I’m glad that I jumped 37. It just wasn’t good enough,” Kelly said. “At least I came in first through third.”
Warren Central only had two other athletes in the state meet, and neither medaled in their events.
Deja Ivory finished fifth in the girls shot put with a mark of 32-11 1/2. Murrah’s Tatyana Lofton won with a throw of 37-7 1/2.
Jacorey Turner finished seventh in the boys high jump, and fourth in the triple jump.
Turner cleared 6 feet in the high jump, but failed on three attempts at 6 feet, 2 inches. Harrison Central’s Jerin Allen went on to win with a height of 6 feet, 6 inches.
Another Harrison Central athlete, Lakendric Tuck, posted a mark of 47 feet, 6 1/2 inches to win the triple jump. Turner went 44 feet, 2 3/4 inches, and was four inches behind Hattiesburg’s Jakyree Ramsey for the bronze medal.