Memphis track standouts shine at 4-AAA sectional meet

By Updated: May 14, 2019 4:00 AM CT | Published: May 13, 2019 10:20 PM CT

About 3 1/2 years ago, Joshua Exom had probably the toughest day of his high school career at Arlington Stadium. On Monday, he was back and had his most satisfying.

Exom, a senior at Whitehaven, was one of the standout performers at the 4-AAA sectional track meet, taking home first place in both the long jump and the high jump. He also ran a leg on the Tigers' 400-meter relay team that finished in second place and qualified for Spring Fling in Murfreesboro next week.

In a way, it brought his high school career full circle. Exom was a freshman football player at Bartlett when he suffered a broken leg in a game at Arlington. He said the injury was on his mind Monday.

"At first when I got here I was kind of nervous," said Exom. "I was kind of thinking that maybe something bad could happen again, but my teammates just told me to go out and do what I could do. And that's what I did."

Exom went 22-3.25 to win the long jump and then had a height of 6 feet, 2 inches in the high jump. Not bad at all, especially considering he's only been doing this track thing for a few weeks. Exom's primary pursuits up to this spring were football – he'll be attending a prep school in Alabama in the fall in an effort to raise his recruiting profile – and basketball.

"I didn't know I could jump in track until the end of the basketball season," he said. "But I always knew I could jump with the best of them. … It's about heart and believing what you can do. So I just go out there and prove myself every day."

Exom's teammate, Emmanuel Bynum, is quickly running out of things to prove. The defending large class state champion in the 200 won that event in 22.01 while also capturing the 100 (11.01) and 400 (47.37). Bynum also ran on Whitehaven's winning 1,600 relay team.

"My coaches told me to go out and execute in the one, four and two," said the senior. "I feel like I can do better; we've got a couple of more days (of practice) ahead of us and I'm going to try and put some work in. … The main priority is the blocks; if I can get out a little faster, everything will come smooth."

Exom and Bynum helped Whitehaven to a second-place finish in the team standings, behind Central. Elliot Barner turned in a remarkable performance for the Warriors in winning the triple jump with a leap of 47-10. That was 2 1/2 inches longer than his previous state-best mark, set last month at the Houston Track Classic.

Central also got a standout performance from junior Deng Wek. The junior, who had earlier won the decathlon, finished first in both the 110 (15.04) and 300 (39.13) hurdles.

"I'm not satisfied at all," said Wek, who was born in Cairo, Egypt, and came to Memphis with his family when he was 2. "I can do better than that. For me to be satisfied, I want to go sub-14. And I ran 38 earlier in the season so I want to (run) 37 and then I'll be satisfied.

"I have to get my start corrected and I have to push myself through the first 100 because I usually don't run the first 100 (well) for some reason."

Arlington had two double-winners on the boys side as Jackson Williams captured the 1,600 and 3,200 and Roland Turner finished first in the shot put and discus. Their teammate, Skylar Boogerd, was one of the top girls performers as she won the 1,600 (5:09.97) and the 3,200 (11:10.27) while making both races look like a walk in the park in her final competition on her home track.

"It was a really good day," she said. "It was kind of a last-minute decision to run the 1,600. I just had a gut feeling that I needed to double; it's a good workout either way whether I ran fast or not. But I'm happy with both of my times.

"I don't know if I'll run both at state or pick (one), but a top-three finish would be great."

Southwind's Breanna Miles, meanwhile, will be going for No. 1 in the 400 for the second straight year. The defending state champ advanced in what was probably the best race of the day as she finished in 55.90. The other qualifiers – Whitehaven's Kirstin Jones and Germantown's Mariah Smith and Sequoyah Maynard – also were under 57 seconds.

"I was tired," said Miles, who finished second to Whitehaven's Kirstin Jones in the 100 while helping the Jaguars win the 800 relay before competing in her specialty.

"I wanted to do a mid-55 so I could get a good lane when I go to state and also just to run my race. I wanted to do a 39 in the first 300 (meters) and then just work on my form in the last 100. Just drop my arms and relax and push all the way through the line."

Southwind's Tyra Nabors, the defending state champ in the 300 hurdles, won that race in 44.06 and the 100 in 15.11 while helping her team to a third-place finish overall. Houston placed first with Whitehaven second. 

4-AAA Sectionals at Arlington

Note: Top four finishers in each event advance to state


100: Emmanuel Bynum (Whitehaven), 11.01; Marius Steward (Whitehaven), 11.27; Romerro Irby (Central), 11.31; Kerry Hunt (Cordova), 11.32

200: Emmanuel Bynum (Whitehaven), 22.01; Bryan Young (White Station), 22.53; Kerry Hunt (Cordova), 22.77; Lakendrick Farrell (Southwind), 22.84

400: Emmanuel Bynum (Whitehaven), 47.37; Nicholas Bryant (Southwind), 48.42; Isaiah Weasby (Bartlett), 48.63; Khalid White (Central), 49.00

800: Andre Brown (Whitehaven), 1:57.22; Caleb Hobbs (Germantown), 1:57.75; Keyorray Moore (Southwind), 1:58.54; Landen McNair (Bartlett), 1:59.02

1,600: Jackson Williams (Arlington), 4:25.79; Bradley Turner (Houston), 4:29.07; Evan Allen (Chester County), 4:30.09; Travis Jones (Bartlett), 4:33.87

3,200: Jackson Williams (Arlington), 9:49.31; Robert Dawson (Bartlett), 9:54.62; Bradley Turner (Houston), 9:55.42; Evan Allen (Chester County), 9:56.15

110 hurdles: Deng Wek (Central), 15.04; Cameron Comeaux (Ridgeway), 15.05; Devin Chandler (Arlington), 15.21; Shamari Covington (White Station), 15.43

300 hurdles: Deng Wek (Central), 39.13; Devin Chandler (Arlington), 39.53; Jacob Bell (Central), 40.35; Marius Steward (Whitehaven), 40.52

400 relay: Southwind (Lakendrick Farrell, Robert Goree, Jordan Johnson, Geoffrey Williams), 42.77; Whitehaven (Keeshon Taborn, Marius Steward, Andre Gooden, Joshua Exom), 42.81; Kirby (names not available), 42.99; White Station (Shamari Covington, Evan Johnson, Kevon Woodley, Bryan Young), 43.08

800 relay: Central (Khalid White, Jacob Bell, Romerro Irby, Dohhavon Hunt), 1:28.08; Southwind (Nicholas Bryant, Lakendrick Farrell, Robert Goree, Jordan Johnson), 1:28.26; Millington (Corey Smith, Reggie Caldwell, Edward Macklin, Adrian Dowell), 1:28.68; Cordova (Brandon Mackey, Tarique Barnes, DeMario Richards, Kerry Hunt), 1:29.51

1,600 relay: Whitehaven (Andre Brown, Emmanuel Bynum, Terrick Johnson, Trevor Saulsberry), 3:22.78; Central (Dohnavon Hunt, Romerro Irby, Tyler Bell, Khalid White), 3:23.25; Bartlett (Devin Malone, Derien Malone, Isaiah Weasby, Jordan Hill), 3:23.70; Southwind (Nicholas Bryant, Trellas Forrest, Lakendrick Farrell, Keyorray Moore), 3:24.13

3,200 relay: Whitehaven (Andrew Cullins, Andre Brown, Terrick Johnson, Lennie Mitchell), 8:16.40; Brownsville Haywood (Quandarius Henley, Allen Weathers, Christian Spencer, Kyeth Powell), 8:19.90; White Station (Jaden Winston, Luke Nalos, Jahari Bell, Jamieson Nelvis), 8:24.60; Collierville (Aiden Archer, Andreis Campo, Ryan McMinn, David Mullaly), 8:28.58

High jump: Joshua Exom (Whitehaven), 6-2; Corey Smith (Millington), 6-2; Derien Malone (Bartlett), 6-0; Andrew Millen (Cordova), 6-0

Long jump: Joshua Exom (Whitehaven), 22-3.25; Devin Chandler (Arlington), 21-4.5; Andrew Millen (Cordova), 21-3; Justin Miller (Houston), 21-0.75

Triple jump: Elliot Barner (Central), 47-10; Brandon Wallace (Bartlett), 42-6; Link Fisher (White Station), 42-1; Jevon Floyd (Munford), 41-11.5

Pole vault: Liam Jogal (Houston), 13-0; Conner Calloway (Collierville), 11-6; Reid Bona (Dyersburg), 11-6; Dedrick Anderson (Central), 10-0

Discus: Roland Turner (Arlington), 170-10; Marcus Jackson (South Gibson), 124-9; Reid Bona (Dyersburg), 123-4; RaShawn Haynes (Central), 117-11

Shot put: Roland Turner (Arlington), 46-2; Brian Taylor (Ripley), 41-3.5; Langston Issac (Houston), 40-8; Joshua Jones (Arlington), 40-7

Decathlon: Deng Wek (Central) 5,721; Jacob Bell (Central) 5,553; Dedrick Anderson (Central), 4,913; Kevon Woodley (White Station), 4,720 

Team totals: Central 124.5; Whitehaven 113; Arlington 81; Bartlett 62.5; Southwind 47; White Station 46; Cordova 43; Houston 40; Collierville 29; Millington 21; Kirby 17; Germantown 15; Ridgeway 15; Chester County 13; Dyersburg 12; South Gibson 11; Brownsville Haywood 8; Ripley 8; Munford 6; Craigmont 4; Lexington 3; Bolton 2; Covington 1 


100: Kirstin Jones (Whitehaven), 12.28; Breanna Miles (Southwind), 12.50; Sanura Branigan (Whitehaven), 12.58; Kaeli Sain (Jackson Southside), 12.66

200: Nyla Blackmon (Southwind), 24.97; Kirstin Jones (Whitehaven), 25.01; Breanna Miles (Southwind), 25.27; Sanura Branigan (Whitehaven), 25.60

400: Breanna Miles (Southwind), 55.90; Kirstin Jones (Whitehaven), 56.16; Mariah Smith (Germantown), 56.67; Sequoyah Maynard (Germantown), 56.91

800: Ashleigh Stephen (Whitehaven), 2:28.10; Lauren McNealy (White Station), 2:28.30; Tyana Gamble (Southwind), 2:28.50; Malena Long (Houston), 2:28.67

1,600: Skylar Boogerd (Arlington), 5:09.97; Lydia Tankersley (Houston), 5:31.89; Maggie Roy (Bartlett), 5:34.55; Annabel Leonard (Houston), 5:39.59

3,200: Skylar Boogerd (Arlington), 11:10.27; Ann-Marie Braese (Arlington), 11:32.98; Brenna Riseling (Houston), 11:59.86; Madeline Harreld (Houston), 12:12.31

100 hurdles: Tyra Nabors (Southwind), 15.11; Aliyah Wilson (Houston), 16.00; Ramya King (White Station), 16.01; Amelia Simpson (Bolton), 16.08

300 hurdles: Tyra Nabors (Southwind), 44.06; Emani Johnson (Whitehaven), 44.86; Aliyah Wilson (Houston), 45.03; Rajala Bean (White Station), 46.28

400 relay: Whitehaven (Sanura Branigan, Jada Hill, Emani Johnson, Mikaya White), 48.42; Southwind (Nyla Blackmon, Aliyah Duncan, JaCaiyah Tutwiler, LaMyria Robinson), 48.99; White Station (Jayla Jones, Kourtnie Kelly, Ramya King, Rajala Bean), 49.21; Kirby (names not available), 49.88

800 relay: Southwind (Nyla Blackmon, Aliyah Duncan, Breanna Miles, LaMyria Robinson), 1:40.32; Germantown (Ashley Slater, Sequoyah Maynard, Kennedie Gillum, Mariah Smith), 1:41.70; Whitehaven (Sanura Branigan, Emani Johnson, Kirstin Jones, Nya Walton), 1:45.43; Kirby (names not available), 1:45.74

1,600 relay: Germantown (Kennedie Gillum, Sequoyah Maynard, Mariah Smith, Ashley Slater), 3:57.28; Whitehaven (Nya Walton, Ashleigh Stephen, Kirstin Jones, Emani Johnson), 3:57.65; Houston (Paris Bowles, Olivia Freeman, Aliyah Wilson, LaNea Wallace), 4:03.23; Southwind (Amaya Jackson, Khamil Carroll, Nyla Blackmon, Tyra Nabors), 4:07.03

3,200 relay: Arlington (Shelby Udovich, Chloe Biggs, Piper Lee, Ann-Marie Braese), 10:04.39; Houston (Grace Gibson, Annabel Leonard, Malena Long, Lydia Tankersley), 10:08.59; Collierville (Jessica Francis, Susan Gonzalez, Emma Hurlbut, Jada Jenkins), 10:11.38; Whitehaven (Kailsey Adams, Danielle Booker, Mariam Magassouba, Ta'Niya Spight), 10:12.18

High jump: Nkyyh Bennett (Central), 5-0; Serena Lee (Central), 5-0; Ciara Potter (Munford), 5-0; Sihirah Reese (White Station), 5-0

Long jump: Tamia Green (Ripley), 17-6.25; Ramya King (White Station), 17-5; Makayla Transou (Jackson Southside), 17-4.75; Ciara Potter (Munford), 17-4.50

Triple jump: Kyla McLaurin (Houston), 37-10.5; Serena Lee (Central), 36-1.5; Lauren Johnson (Central), 35-11.5; Nkyyh Bennett (Central), 35-1.5

Pole vault: Heidi Myers (Bolton), 9-0; Sonia Jogal (Houston), 8-6; Ava Beeler (Collierville), 8-0; LaMyria Robinson (Southwind), 8-0

Discus: Andreanna Hood (Brighton), 105-11; Brittney Ivory (Central), 105-9; Alexis Fields (Dyer County), 99-1; Israel Collins (White Station), 95-11

Pentathlon: Serena Lee (Central), 3,205; Aliyah Wilson (Houston), 2,907; Tyra Nabors (Southwind), 2,820; Emani Johnson (Whitehaven), 2,816

Team totals: Houston 114; Whitehaven 103.5; Southwind 103; Central 92.5; Arlington 61; White Station 49; Germantown 33; Kirby 23; Bolton 21; Munford 20; Collierville 19; Brighton 18; Bartlett 16; Jackson Southside 14; Ripley 10; Dyer County 6; Covington 5; Crockett County 5; Cordova 4; Ridgeway 4; Obion Central 3; Wooddale 3; South Gibson 1


High School Track and Field TSSAA Spring Fling Whitehaven High Central High Southwind High Arlington High
John Varlas

John Varlas

John Varlas is a lifelong Memphian who has covered high school sports in various capacities for over 20 years.

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