PEARL – As Hattiesburg’s Lenasia Drummond crossed the finish in the 300-meter hurdles, a face of exhaustion came over her.
It was rightfully deserved as she not only beat the entire competition by two seconds, but it was her fourth and final individual state championship win. For her, it was a normal reaction as she knew the win built on the Lady Tigers’ performance.
Drummond’s run away from the field in her final event was the illustration of dominance the Lady Tigers had against their competition in the 5A track state championships. Drummond contributed 40 points to Hattiesburg’s 111 team points, which was 45 more than the second-place team in the Lady Tigers’ first team championship since 1990, as well as a clean sweep of both winning state titles in both the boys’ and girls’ competition.
The Lady Tigers were close in pulling off a state championship win back in 2018 as Hattiesburg finished runners-up.
“This group has been around, and the bulk of the team is sophomores and have been around since the seventh grade,” Hattiesburg coach Charles Green said. “We thought they were going to win it last year, but of course, COVID took it away from them.
“We overcame all the COVID adversities this year (but) this is the culmination of a lot of hard work since last year.”
Drummond helped Hattiesburg build an early lead with a win in the long jump with a jump of 17 feet 9 inches. She then followed with a win in the triple jump as she jumped 36 feet 4 inches. Kymiah Hilton added six more points with a third-place finish as she jumped 34 feet, 3 inches.
“Lenasia is one of the hardest-working kids we have,” Green said. “She just goes out and is going to fight and battle. She’s going to give you her all every time she steps on the track or lines up to jump. She’s a great kid to be around and a great kid to coach. I love having her. It’s wonderful that she is just a sophomore, so we’ll have to do this all again for the next two years.”
Drummond’s only challenge on the day was in the 100m hurdles. Laurel’s Kalli Husband took an early lead, but Drummond managed to catch her and come away with a win with a time of 14.67.
“I knew coming in here that I was going to place in all of my events,” Drummond said. “I don’t want to sound cocky, but I knew. I got out of the block kind of easy, but she snuck up on me, so I had to take off. That was the only thing I was worried about today.”
In the discus, Aryanna Hollingsworth finished in fourth place with a throw of 92 feet, 4 inches. Hollingsworth also finished in sixth place in the shot put with a throw of 31 feet, seven inches. LaTerria Brisher picked up a second-place finish in the high jump with a jump of 4 feet, 10 inches.
Hattiesburg picked up key points with its relay teams as well. The Hattiesburg 4X800 finished in fifth place with a time of 11:08.
The 4X200 relay ran 1:45.95 for a second-place finish.
The 4X100 relay team came with some controversy. On the first exchange, Ridgeland hindered two other schools causing a bad exchange in the first relay, which caused Hattiesburg to finish in seventh place. While Hattiesburg had the team competition win locked up, coaches voted to rerun the race, which had the Lady Tigers finish in third place.
Despite the minor hiccup, Hattiesburg locked up its win in the pole vault by scoring 17 points with different athletes in the event. Kya Warnsley won the event, clearing 9 feet, with Mianna Williams finishing in third place with seven feet and Destiny Terrell finishing in sixth place with a vault of six feet.
“Kya has been Kya and has had a lot of success this year,” Green said. “Those points put the meet well out of hand for the girls. At that point, we were coasting.
“Pole vault, we knew that would be the event that would seal it all for the girls. I knew with the way my girls had been vaulting that they would at least go and one and three.”
The future stays bright for Hattiesburg as the Lady Tigers graduate just one senior from their championship squad.
“We only have one senior, so the rest of us are staying,” Drummond said. “That means the same thing we did this year that we can do next year.”