2024 All-County Track and Field: Vicksburg’s Vample hurdles the competition as Athlete of the Year

Published 4:00 am Saturday, June 1, 2024

When the high school track and field postseason began, Vicksburg High’s Koury Vample was a state championship contender in three events.

That was quickly knocked down to two, and then one, during the first two rounds. In that last event, however, he had no equal.

Vample blew away the field in the 300 meter hurdles to win the MHSAA Class 6A state championship. He was the only boys’ state champion from Warren County this season, and also stands atop the podium as The Vicksburg Post’s track and field Athlete of the Year.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“Honestly, I didn’t know I was going to get Player of the Year for one event. I wasn’t expecting it,” Vample said.

Vample medaled in both hurdles events at the 2023 Class 5A state meet — he was second in the 110 and third in the 300 — and then discovered a trick to become the dominant force in the event in Class 6A.
Run really fast out of the gate.

Simple as it sounds, Vample said it helped him get a lead in every race this season that he rode to victory after impressive victory.

Vample was undefeated in the 300 hurdles in six meets, and rarely challenged. His smallest margin of victory was .17 seconds at the state meet. He won every other race by at least .55 seconds, a fairly sizable margin in a sprint event.

“It was the strategy I was using,” Vample said. “The takeoff was the most important thing. Everybody else would stride to their first hurdle and they’d end up letting me get in front of them right there. When I got in front of them it’d take me all the way on to the end. It was easy. It was the same strategy every race.”

Vample was among the best in the state in two other events as well, although he didn’t get the chance to prove it on the biggest stage.

At the Region 2-6A meet, the first round of the postseason, his ankle buckled early in the 110 meter hurdles. He fell and finished 10th, when only the top four moved on to the North State meet.

Vample said he was obviously disappointed, but accepted the result and what he did in the bigger picture. He won the 110 twice, finished second at another meet, and was consistently below 15 seconds.

“Before the race I was trying to get my ankle taped up because it was bothering me. During the race it just collapsed. On the third or fourth hurdle it just went out and I could feel it,” Vample said. “Many people thought I was upset, but I wasn’t upset because I did good in the 110 this year. I PR’d. I think I went all the way to a 14.3 or 14.4 from 14.9.”

His other event was the 100 meter dash, which he also excelled at. Vample had a season-best time of 10.83 seconds to win the Region 2-6A championship.

“The 100 was a side gig as I ran a 10.8. I wasn’t expecting me to run that fast. I’m not good at block starts and all that,” Vample said.

Vample ran an 11.46 in the 100 meters at North State and was eliminated from another event. He also elected not to run the 200 meters at North State despite qualifying, leaving him with just the 300 — and a ton of confidence — to pin his gold medal hopes on.

“Being knocked out of the other events didn’t really tear me down, because I already knew I was going to win the 300,” he said. “The whole season running the 300, I didn’t actually run full speed until the state.”

Vample’s time at the state meet, 39.30 seconds, wasn’t actually his fastest. He clocked in at 39.07 the previous week at North State. It was plenty good enough to win, though, and stand tall on the podium.

“It just don’t feel real to be No. 1 in anything,” Vample said. “Sports is different things, so being No. 1 in anything you do it don’t even feel real sometimes.”

Vample might retire from competitive track and field as a state champion. He’s signed with Hinds Community College to play football. He said he might attempt to run track, but if he does he doesn’t plan on running the 400 meter hurdles — the distance increases beyond the high school level — in college.

“Not 300 hurdles. I’ll do 110 hurdles and the 100 meters. That’s it,” he said with a laugh. “It was just the 300. It hurts. It’s the worst race you can run. It hurts the worst, especially when you get to college because they change to the 400 hurdles.”

Instead he’ll pour his focus onto football. He was named Region 2-6A’s Defensive Back of the Year last season, in his first year playing the sport. He knows he’s got a lot to learn when it comes to football and is eager to do it.

If he approaches it like his track events, there won’t be any slowing him down.

“I just want to succeed at football. I’ve only played for, I think, six months and I got offered,” he said. “It’s not sinking in yet. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do or work on, because I’m new to football. It’s different.”

2024 – Koury Vample, Vicksburg
2023 – Tyler Henderson, Vicksburg
2022 – Daniel Llopis, Porter’s Chapel
2021 – Brennon Williams, St. Aloysius
2020 – No winner (COVID)
2019 – Brennon Williams, St. Aloysius
2018 – Connor Bottin, St. Aloysius
2017 – Donald Woodson, St. Aloysius
2016 – DeMichael Harris, St. Aloysius
2015 – DeMichael Harris, St. Aloysius
2014 – Terrell Smith, Vicksburg
2023 – Shaniyah Walker, Vicksburg
2023 – Rodrianna Hall, Vicksburg
2022 – Layla Carter, Vicksburg
2021 – Cati Mathews, St. Aloysius
2020 – No winner (COVID)
2019 – Char’Davia Anderson, Vicksburg
2018 – Raven Thompson, Warren Central
2017 – Dede Apenyo, St. Aloysius
2016 – Tymesha Nabors, Vicksburg
2015 – Keiyana Gaskin, Vicksburg
2014 – Alyssa Engel, St. Aloysius

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.

email author More by Ernest