Sports column: Here’s hoping Warren County’s track championship streak continues

Published 3:17 pm Friday, May 3, 2024

Airport Road is a main north-south thoroughfare in Rankin County. Also known as Mississippi 475, it runs for about six miles from Pearl to Flowood, parallel to one of the runways at Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport.

On Saturday, jets aren’t the only really fast things you’ll see if you travel that stretch of highway. On either end of it, high school track and field athletes will compete for glory and gold medals at the MAIS and MHSAA state meets.

The MAIS overall state meet begins at 9:30 a.m. at Jackson Prep on the north end of Airport Road in Flowood. Field events were held Friday at Jackson Academy and Canton Academy.

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The MHSAA Class 5A, 6A and 7A meets are at Pearl High School on the southern side. Field events start at 11 a.m. and most running events at 3 p.m.

The meets will both last until the early evening, and Warren County’s four high school track teams will be busy competing and hopefully climbing the medal podium all afternoon.

Vicksburg High, Warren Central, Porter’s Chapel Academy and St. Aloysius have a combined 41 athletes competing in 47 events. It’s a staggering total that might even be a little disappointing. Several expected state championship contenders from Warren County were eliminated in the first two rounds of the postseason.

At least one Warren County athlete has won an individual state championship every year since 1992. It would be shocking if that streak ends this year, not just because of the quantity of athletes competing this weekend, but the quality. The four Warren County teams won their respective North and South State championships in 18 events last weekend.

Not all of our local athletes will win on Saturday. Vicksburg High and Warren Central are in the same classification and will go head-to-head in several events. A number of them are favorites, however.

Vicksburg’s Tyler Henderson (triple jump) and Koury Vample (300 meter hurdles) are both undefeated in their events this season, and Shaniyah Walker (400 meters) has not lost against Class 6A competition.

Warren Central’s Dwight Palmer (200 meters) and Adria Burrell (100 meters) both won North State titles last week and are among the top sprinters in the state.

Porter’s Chapel Academy’s Marley Bufkin (long jump) and Jae’la Smith won MAIS Class 3A South State championships and are half of the 4×100 and 4×200 relay teams — along with Audrey Carraway and Ansley Conway — who will be top seeds at the state meet.

St. Al’s Samantha Edwards reached the state meet in three distance events (800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters) and should be at the front of the pack in the one- and two-mile races.

Sadly, no matter how fast anyone runs — or drives up and down Airport Road — it’ll be impossible to see every event at both the MAIS and MHSAA meets. You’ll have to scout out the schedules and pick your spots, or follow us online at for coverage.

The good thing is, no matter where you wind up spending most of the afternoon you’ll probably see some of our local athletes write their names in the history books.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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