MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Track and Field:
Over 30 athletes from across the state met at Ray Stadium for the track and field events. With the exception of some of the relays, the day's events were mostly individual, including the 100 meter dash, the 100 meter hurdles and some of the non-running events like pole vault and long jump.
Meridian track and field coach, Regonal Walker, serves as the event’s commissioner and says track and field provides an opportunity for children and parents to both participate given the range of events.
“It’s something that has become a tradition. If you noticed, there’s a lot of fathers and daughters, fathers and sons,” he said. “They come every year. It’ an opportunity for families to do things together.”
Jimmy and Julie Segroves from D'Iberville are two of those athletes competing as a father-daughter pair. Jimmy, 65, and Julie, 12, competed in the pole vault and said the chance to participate together was important to them.
“We wanted to take advantage of this meet because it’s one of the few meets we could pole vault together and so, you know, it’s not the biggest meet in the world but we wanted to come up here and support it and be able to jump together,” he said.
The Segroves both cleared 7’6” in the pole vault.
Six teams participated in the adult basketball tournament over on the Meridian Community College campus Saturday. Cornelius Parks has been participating in adult basketball off and on for 15 years. He brought “Team Parks” this year and says it’s a good opportunity for athletes to stay fit and to compete against similar talent.
“It’s all about staying in shape for some of us older guys,” Parks said. “Some of the younger guys – they like to compete with some of the talent from around the State of Mississippi. Those teams are pretty competitive. These guys right here want to see their talent level face their talent level.”
Tyrone Johnson is a member of Team Parks and, in addition to enjoying the local competition, says that the Games brings people together.
“State Games brings a lot of unity,” Johnson said. “It doesn’t matter from which corner of the city or the local area that you’re from, it brings us all together to compete in a sport.”
The double-elimination style tournament concluded Saturday.
About 50 competitors are expected to participate in the two-day bowling competition at the Depot Family Fun Center. Bowlers are separated into six divisions based on gender, age and average score. The bowler with the highest score after six games wins the gold medal.
Event commissioner, Jason Pierce, says the format allows participants to compete against their peers, against people they already know.
“Most people come out here and they stay within the same division so they know who they bowl every year and one year one of them will get the gold medal,” he said. “The next year another one will get the gold medal so it’s always just a fun family competition down here.”
Bowling was moved to a new venue this year and the venue’s manager – a State Games bowler himself – says that the comradery makes bowling a unique offering to the State Games’ slate.
“Bowling is – I don’t know if it’s like any other sport – because bowling is a family,” he said. “Everywhere we go bowling we know somebody.”
Bowling has been a part of State Games since the inaugural Games 28 years ago.
22 Caliber Rifle:
The Precision 22 Rifle competition took place Saturday morning at Battlefield Shooting Club in Collinsville. The firearms showcased included both light and heavy barrel 22s with classes broken down by age, gender and rifle type. Participants shot at targets 25 yards away and the highest possible score – a 250 – has yet to be reached in the contest’s history.
“From your Grandpa’s squirrel gun to some of the more expensive Anschutz, they bring me some really nice firearms out here in order to shoot well and have some of the higher scores,” event commissioner Wade Smith said.
Some of the participants celebrated an early Father’s Day by bringing their daughters along with to the range. Lauren Hopkins accompanied her father and was one of the youngest marksmen at the event.
“I was very nervous at first, and I was still nervous when I was shooting, but I tried my hardest,” she said.
The second shooting event of the day, 3 Gun, was cancelled due to a lack of participation.