By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Darnell Collier actually led the first race of his running career – the 2011 Gum Tree 10K.
That lead, however, was short-lived.
“I started too quick. I was only out front long enough to get my picture in the newspaper,” the Tupelo High School freshman distance runner said, then laughed.
Collier faded quickly in the 6.2-mile May race and eventually finished 89th overall. That wasn’t the case for the rookie runner Saturday in the 42nd annual Daily Journal Relays. He won the 3,200 meters in 10 minutes, 24.10 seconds, which was 12 seconds off his personal best of 10:12 recorded a few weeks ago at the Ole Miss Invitational.
“I’m trying to break 10, but I don’t think I’ll beat it this year,” he said. “I’d be happy with a 9-something.”
Collier was a member of Tupelo’s state champion cross country team in the fall and finished fourth overall in the Class 6A meet at Mississippi College. He has enjoyed his brief running career and the success that has come with it.
“To me, it’s not a race unless I’m having fun,” he said.
Another THS cross country star, state champion freshman Christina Daniels, ran a personal record of 11:40.50 to capture the 3,200 meters. Her previous best clocking was an 11:42.
“I was just happy to run today,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting to run a (personal record).”
Daniels also won the 1,600 meters in 5:34.10.
Tupelo’s Garrett Rogers doubled with wins in the 1,600 in 4:38.09 and the 800 in 2:01.37.
In the pole vault, Tupelo’s Callie Watson broke her school record and the Journal Relays record with a vault of 10-feet, 2 inches. Her previous best was 10-0 while the Journal mark was 9-6.
In the discus, Tupelo’s Jameko Trimble had a meet record throw of 150-04.
Myrtle’s Halle Knowles won four events – long jump, triple jump, 200 meters and 400 meters. She signed earlier this week to play basketball for Northwest Mississippi CC.
In the meet’s large-school division, Pontotoc’s boys and Tupelo’s girls captured the titles.
In the small-school division, Booneville’s boys and Ripley’s girls won the titles.