PCA’s Jae’la Smith wins MAIS Class 3A high jump championship

Published 10:02 pm Friday, May 3, 2024

It wasn’t the greatest day ever for Porter’s Chapel Academy’s track and field team, but a shiny gold medal made it seem a whole lot better.

Jae’la Smith started PCA’s weekend at the MAIS Overall state track meet by winning the girls’ Class 3A high jump championship on Friday.

The senior cleared 4 feet, 10 inches to win by two inches over Central Holmes’ Zoey Jones. Desoto School’s Claudia Pittman was third, at 4-8, and Smith’s PCA teammate Mia Abdo jumped 4-6 to finish fourth.

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Smith completed a perfect run through the postseason, adding the state championship to her District 4-3A and Class 3A South State titles.

The Class 3A state meet began with the field events Friday at Canton Academy, and will conclude with running events Saturday at Jackson Prep beginning at 9:30 a.m. Smith will try to add more gold medals in the 300 meter hurdles, and 4×100, 4×200 and 4×400 meter relays.

Porter’s Chapel had seven entries in Friday’s events, but only won two medals — Smith’s gold, and a bronze by Jase Jung for his third-place finish in the boys’ high jump.

Jung jumped 5 feet, 10 inches. He tied the Regents School’s James Edwards for second place, but lost on a tiebreaker. Desoto School’s Jack Pillow won the Class 3A title by clearing 6 feet even.

Among PCA’s other athletes competing Friday, Marley Bufkin placed sixth in the girls’ long jump, Abdo was fifth in the triple jump, Tyler Hatler finished seventh in the boys’ 3,200 meter run, and Lakelan Pecanty was seventh in the boys’ long jump.

The Class 5A field events and 3,200 meter run were contested on Friday as well, and St. Aloysius had two entries.

Samantha Edwards just missed a medal, finishing fourth in the 3,200 meters with a time of 11 minutes, 52.31 seconds. She was four seconds behind East Rankin Academy’s Audrey Mayette. Simpson Academy’s Lilly Overby and Layla Warren finished first and second, respectively, with times of 11:24.68 and 11:34.97.

Edwards will run again in the 800 and 1,600 meters Saturday at Jackson Prep. Those are among eight entries for the Lady Flashes.

St. Al’s Julia Moberley, meanwhile, finished seventh in the discus on Friday with a throw of 83 feet. Pillow Academy’s Skyler Phillips won with a throw of 113 feet, 3 inches.