Warren Central’s Burrell wins Class 6A title in the 200 meters

Published 12:31 am Sunday, May 5, 2024

PEARL — As she and a pack of five other runners sprinted side-by-side toward the finish line of the MHSAA Class 6A girls’ 200 meter dash, Adria Burrell did everything she could think of with her final steps to pull out a victory.

“Leaning across and I lifted my feet and swung my arm,” the Warren Central junior said with a laugh. “I didn’t know right away, but I wasn’t too quick to doubt myself.”

All of the shimmying, shaking and leaning worked. Burrell nudged across the finish line just .02 seconds ahead of Jim Hill’s Morgan Bradley to win the Class 6A championship in the 200 meters at the state track and field meet Saturday at Pearl High School.

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Burrell led a pack of six runners in the event who finished within a step of each other in an impossibly close finish. The difference between Burrell and Vicksburg High’s Shaniyah Walker, who finished sixth, was four-tenths of a second.

“It was tough coming out of the curve. But as I gradually came out of the curve and got closer to the finish line, it got easier for me. It was something I’ve been training for all season,” Burrell said.

Burrell won the first state championship for a Warren Central girls’ track and field athlete since 2018. The trip to the top of the podium in the next-to-last event of the day erased a lot of the pain from some frustrating finishes as well.

Burrell placed eighth in the 400 meters, and second in the 100. She lost by only .06 seconds to Bradley in the latter, in another close race in which only .36 seconds separated first and sixth place.

“I’m so thankful. It’s a feeling I can’t explain. God has been doing for me all season,” Burrell said.

Burrell’s victory was the highlight of a solid day for Warren Central’s girls’ and boys’ teams at the state meet.

For the girls, Arrionna Jenkins and Mariah Burnett finished second and fourth, respectively, in the shot put. Jenkins had a throw of 35 feet, 7 1/4 inches, and Burnett was at 30-5 1/4.

Jenkins, a sophomore, set her mark on her first of six attempts and stayed in the lead until South Panola’s Takayla Pope surpassed her in the fifth round. Pope’s mark of 38-1 1/4 stood up as the winning number.

“I tied her on my fourth one and she just threw it. I was shocked,” Jenkins said.

Although she had to settle for a silver medal, Jenkins said she was happy with her improvement over the course of the season. She finished sixth in the shot put at last year’s state meet.

“To be honest, it feels really good to see where I came from last year. I had gotten sixth place. This is my second year, so I feel like this is a big improvement,” Jenkins said. “I’ve worked very hard this season and I’m very because there’s been sometimes I felt like like I couldn’t really do it. I’m glad I pushed myself and got here.”

Warren Central’s 4×200 meter relay team of Burrell, Zakiya Watkins, Za’Mya Malone and Ka’ryn Henderson finished fourth, with a time of 1:47.27, and Cora Lindsay scored a fifth-place finished in the 3,200 meters.

Abigail DeJesus was eighth in the 3,200, and Mere’ Smith eighth in the 300 meter hurdles to round out the Lady Vikes’ lineup. They totaled 43 points and finished seventh in the team standings.

Warren Central’s boys’ team only had four entries in the meet, and secured one podium finish.

Dwight Palmer placed second in the 200 meters, with a fast time of 21.77 seconds that wasn’t quite fast enough. Grenada’s Chance Jenkins edged him out with a time of 21.67 seconds.

“It was disappointing. I’ll move up to first next year, though,” a dejected Palmer said after the race.

Palmer also joined Cameron Eaddy, Zack Evans and Garrett Orgas on the 4×100 meter relay team that finished fourth in 42.84 seconds; and Evans, Orgas and Landon Green on the 4×200 meter relay that placed seventh.

Warren Central’s only other athlete in the Class 6A boys’ meet was Ricky Neal, who finished sixth in the triple jump with a mark of 43 feet, 6 inches.

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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