PCA’s Llopis, Jung win two medals each at MAIS Class 3A track meet
Published 8:00 pm Saturday, May 6, 2023
FLOWOOD — Daniel Llopis finished his last lap around the track as a high school athlete and then took one extra step up onto the podium.
The Porter’s Chapel Academy senior medaled in two events Saturday at the MAIS Class 3A state meet, earning a silver in the 300 meter hurdles and a bronze as part of the 4×400 meter relay team, to put a bow on an outstanding two-year run in the sport.
Llopis won three medals in 2022 as well, including the Class 3A championship in the 400 meters.
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“I’m pretty proud, because I never saw myself doing track to be honest with you,” Llopis said. “I like track. Overall, it’s fun. You’re super tired and super sore after it, but as far as you meet people and see all these different people and schools and the atmosphere is fun.”
Llopis joined with Henry Slayton, Jase Jung and Taylor LaBarre in the 4×400 relay, the final event of the meet, to cap off a great weekend for Porter’s Chapel at the MAIS Overall Track and Field meet.
Jung finished third in the high jump during Friday’s field events to join Llopis as a double medal winner. Slayton was fourth in the 800 meters, while Llopis added a fifth-place finish in the 400 meters and a fourth in the 200.
Although Slayton and Llopis settled for ribbons rather than medals in their other events, they posted personal-best times. Llopis ran the 200 in 23.97 seconds, nearly a second better than his time from last week’s North State meet. Slayton chopped 10 seconds off his 800 time over the three rounds of the postseason.
The 4×400 relay was five seconds faster than last week.
Slayton collapsed in a heap at the finish line after running the 800 in 2 minutes, 12.68 seconds — six seconds ahead of his pace at North State.
“That part is good, but running it not,” he said with an exhausted chuckle.
Llopis had a chance to win gold in the 300 hurdles, the day’s first event, but clipped a hurdle late in the race and wasn’t able to recover. O’Brian DeJohnette of Prairie View Academy won in 42.50 seconds, and Llopis was second in 43.33.
“I came out really good, started out really fast, and knew I had to race against (DeJohnette),” Llopis said. “I was gaining on him and I went to jump and I clipped the hurdle. It knocked all my speed out of place and I couldn’t catch up to him. But I still finished it strong and I’m glad I got a medal.”
PCA only had six entries in the meet, but was able to compile 34 points and finish eighth out of 17 schools in the Class 3A boys’ team standings. Sylva-Bay Academy won the Class 3A title with 100 points.
Desoto School won the 3A girls’ championship.
“This is the most we’ve had in a state track meet in a long, long time. So all of them coming in and running their best times of the year at the state meet is great. You want to be running your best at the end and that’s what we’ve done this year,” PCA coach Blake Purvis said.
All six MAIS classifications ran Saturday at Jackson Prep, after the field events were contested on Friday. St. Aloysius had two athletes in the Class 5A girls’ meet, and one of them was thrilled to wind up with a fifth-place ribbon.
Eighth-grader Megan Theriot placed fifth in the 200 meters, with a time of 26.97 seconds. She couldn’t quite catch East Rankin’s Emily Williams for fourth — Williams clocked a time of 26.83 seconds — but didn’t care.
Madison-St. Joseph’s Sydney Collins won the race in 25.93 seconds.
“Coach told me I was reaching toward the end, so I just started throwing my hands down and pulled it out. I was supposed to get sixth,” Theriot said.
Theriot also competed in the 100 meters and finished sixth in 13.21 secondsh. Hendrix Eldridge placed eighth in the 1,600 meters with a time of 6:01.69.
St. Al’s Jake Brister finished fourth in the boys’ discus on Friday.
Theriot was happy with her finish, and excited for the future. Both she and Eldridge are eighth-graders who were competing in their first state meet.
“It’s very intimidating. I wasn’t really worried about placing. I was just thankful I was here,” Theriot said.
Among other Vicksburg-area schools:
• Tallulah Academy’s Abigail Kennedy finished second in the Class 3A girls’ high jump on Friday, with a height of 4 feet, 10 inches. None of Tallulah’s other seven entries on either the girls’ or boys’ side medaled. The boys’ 4×400 meter relay team of Connor Miller, Wyatt Bedgood, Henry Ellerbee and Brayson Morson finished fourth.
Morson and Ellerbee also finished sixth and eighth, respectively, in the boys’ 100 meters.
• Sharkey-Issaquena Academy’s Gary Jackson won the Class 2A boys’ championship in both the 100 and 200 meters, with times of 11.57 and 23.65 seconds, respectively. He added a third gold medal in the long jump on Friday, with a leap of 20 feet, 5 inches.
SIA’s Ashton Thomas finished second in the boys’ shot put, and Landon Warbington was third in the triple jump. Ally McPhail finished second in the girls’ 400 meters.
Sharkey-Issaquena finished fourth in both the boys’ team standings and seventh in the girls’.
• Briarfield Academy’s Ben Coullard won the Class 2A boys’ 400 meters in 54.20 seconds, and was second in the triple jump. He was also part of the 4×400 meter relay that finished second, and the 4×100 relay that finished third.
Cailen Wiltcher won the girls’ discus with a throw of 87-5.
Ryder Jones was second in the boys’ 110 meter hurdles and the discus.
• Central Hinds Academy’s Jake Carmichael won the Class 5A boys’ championship in the 400 meters, with a time of 52.43 seconds. He was also on the 4×400 relay that placed third.