KCHS track teams ready for Division 5-2A meet
The Kemper County boys and girls track teams will return to Velma Jackson High School Friday for the Division 5-2A meet, the first step toward the 2A state meet April 30.
The teams competed there last Friday at the Velma Jackson Invitational, with competition by seven 1A, 2A and 3A schools. The boys finished a close second with 108 points, three less than Port Gibson, a 3A school.
The girls were fourth with 68 points, trailing three 3A schools, Port Gibson, Forest and Yazoo County.
Moving forward, coach Keith Cole is optimistic for both the boys and girls teams.
“The key for the boys is to keep focused,” he said. “Don’t make any mental mistakes. Don’t make any small mistakes. Don’t drop the baton. If they don’t make mistakes, the boys can win the entire state. If they don’t make mistakes they should run away with the district.”
The girls, he said, have to stay healthy. “If I had a couple more girls, they could win the entire state.”
Kemper County dropped down to 2A this year after the boys were 10th and the girls 11th at last year’s 3A state meet. Boys won three straight district meets in 3A.
This year's teams feature three individuals and one relay team that medaled at the 3A state meet last year. Sha'kenye Darden was second in the boys 800, Bry’Nesha Bourrage and Zariyah Moss took second and third in the girls 400 and the girls 800 relay team finished first to claim the gold. Darden, Bourrage and Moss are seniors
Also returning is boys sprinter Aaron Steele who was sixth in the 100 and eighth in the 200 at last year’s 3A state meet.
At the Velma Jackson Invitational, Moss won the 400 with a time of 1:01.93, Darden was second in the 800 (2:06.25) and Steele was third in the 100 (11.76) and fifth in the 200 (23.97). Darden runs alongside his twin brother Sha'kanye.
Kemper County girls won six events and boys three at the Velma Jackson Invitational. In addition to Moss, the girls received victories by Kaylan Clayton in the 100 (12.61) and 200 (26.75), Destiny Boyd in the 800 (2:57.37) and the 800 and 1600 relays. The boys also won the 800 and 1600 relays and Jamari Scott won the 200 with a time of 22.94.
Relays is a strength for both Kemper County teams. Moss, Clayton, Quintayjah Reed and Jushanti Bourrage combined on the girls 800 and 1600 relays at Velma Jackson. Jushanti Bourrage (Bry’Nesha’s cousin) was second in the 400.
For boys, Steele, and Ezekial Smoot ran on the 800 and 1600 relays. They were joined on the 800 by Scott and Alex Roberts and on the 1600 by Semaj Ray and Shakenye Darden.
Other schools in 5-2A are Nanih Waiya, Newton, Philadelphia and Velma Jackson.
“Everybody is going to be great competition,” Cole said. He pegged Newton and Velma Jackson as probably the strongest boys competition for Kemper County. He wasn’t sure about the girls.
The top three in each event will move on to the Region 3-2A meet April 14 at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Ridgeland.