Warren Central track’s Henderson signs with South Alabama, Eaddy with Hinds

Published 9:16 am Wednesday, May 8, 2024

After Jonathan Henderson won the MHSAA Class 6A boys’ high jump championship in 2023, it wasn’t surprising that college coaches started calling.

For his less-heralded teammate Cameron Eaddy, it was more of a stunner.

The two Warren Central track and field athletes both celebrated their college choices with a signing ceremony on Tuesday. Henderson earned a Division I scholarship from South Alabama, and Eaddy with Hinds Community College.

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“I’m grateful for the opportunity to run at the college level and extend my track career,” Eaddy said.

Eaddy earned his opportunity after only one year of high school track. The sprinter sat out his ninth-grade season because of an injury, and his sophomore season due to a class schedule that conflicted with practice.

The 17-year-old is on track to graduate early, and ran through this past season as fast as he did high school. He clocked times of 11.3 seconds in the 100 meters, 22.0 in the 200, and was also on the Vikings’ 4×100 meter relay teams.

The 4×100 meter relay team finished fourth at the Class 6A state meet with a time of 42.84. Eaddy’s performance in the event led to a sudden, last-minute offer from Hinds.

“The coach believes I have a lot of potential to even give me a chance because this is my first year. To have those times in my first year, I feel like I can make it,” Eaddy said.

Henderson has a much deeper resumé. He finished fifth in Class 6A in the high jump in 2022, then won it in 2023 with a height of 6 feet, 10 inches. He matched that mark at a meet early this season.

South Alabama was among the college programs that contacted him last summer following his state championship.

“I’m pretty sure they randomly texted me one day,” Henderson said. “We ended up talking, I went for a visit, and a few weeks later I committed. I think they just knew my name because I got out there last year. They hit me up at the beginning of this year.”

Henderson got a few other offers, but it didn’t take long for him to realize South Alabama was where he wanted to be. Besides just feeling right, he said the Jaguars have an emphasis on the field events that he believes will help him improve.

“Every time I would come back, I had the feeling like I don’t want to come back. I just felt good with the people, with the coaches, they’ve got a good team, a good facility. I went up there because I felt like that’s where I belong,” he said. “It’s really jumper-focused, and thrower and event-focused instead of track-focused. So I’ll have coaches really helping me in the high jump next year. I’m excited for it.”

Henderson was also excited for something else that college will offer — the chance to erase a bad memory.

Based on his regular-season performance, Henderson was a contender to repeat as the Class 6A high jump champion.
At the Region 2-6A meet, however, he waited until the bar was at 6 feet, 2 inches to make his first attempt. He scratched on all three tries and was eliminated in the first round of the postseason.

Henderson’s personal-best height of 6-10 would have won the 6A title again. George County’s Justin Knight won it on a tiebreaker over Grenada’s Kelton Jones, after both cleared 6-8.

“It hurt. I know I could have beat them, but God said it wasn’t my year,” Henderson said. “I’ve got to take it on the chin and go into this next year with the same momentum I went in this year. I don’t like losing. I’m not a fan.”

Henderson said he’s using the disappointment from the loss as motivation heading into his first college season.

“I’m excited that I get to keep going, because I would’ve been mad if my career ended how it did at regionals,” he said. “It’s a humbling experience, though. You can’t let it get to your head. If you’re not humble it’s not going to work out.”

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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