By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
Winning and losing a state championship in this year’s MHSAA Class 4A girls track and field meet could come down to the final race – the 4X400 meter relay.
Pontotoc defeated rival Corinth at the region and North state to win those meets this season.
“We’ve battled them through the division, region and North half and it has come donw to the mile relay every time,” Pontotoc girls coach Mike Bain said. “We won the region and North half by two points thanks to winning the mile relay.”
South state champion Poplarville could have a final say in the outcome when 2A, 4A and 6A schools compete Monday at Pearl High School.
The meet starts today with the 1A, 3A and 5A competition.
Northeast Mississippi teams should dominate in the distance events again this season at the state meet.
In 4A girls, Corinth’s Emma Knight won the North 800 meters and 1,600 meters while Lafayette’s Peyton Hamann won the 3,200 meters. Hamann is the defending state champion in the 800, but finished second to Knight this season in the North state meet.
In 3A girls, Ripley’s Page Rowland won the North in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200. In 1A boys, Ingomar’s Tyler Warren won the North 1,600 and 3,200 titles.
Tupelo’s Darnell Collier and Christina Daniels won North 6A titles in the 3,200 and return to defend their 2012 state championships.
In Class 5A, defending 1,600 and 3,200 state champion Kate Mattox of Starkville, an eighth grader, won the North titles.
In Class 1A girls, another eighth grader, Emma Woolhouse of Tupelo Christian Prep, won the North 3,200 meters. Woolhouse is al’so a member of the Lady Eagles contending 4×400 meter relay unit with Madison Laney, Abby Boren and Abby Hanby.
Also in 1A girls, Falkner’s Melissa Maldonado won the North 800 meters.
“Distance running is a lot stronger in the North than in the South,” Pontotoc’s Bain said. “We struggle to get kids out. We had a 5:40 runner in the 1,600 fail to qualify, but the South had a 6-minute runner qualify.”