PEARL, Miss. — It was man-up time for Kenmarkis Meeks.
The standout athlete for the Mississippi School for the Deaf showed up to Saturday’s state track and field championships at Pearl High School and was amazed by what he saw.
“There’s so many people here,” Meeks said through an interpreter. “It’s just amazing to see this many people here.”
If it made Meeks nervous to see the crowd, he also said he had to “just fight through it.”
“Be a strong man,” he said.
It worked — Meeks, a junior, took home a pair of individual gold medals, first clearing 6-4 in the 1A boys’ long jump and then later running the 110-meter hurdles in 15.6 seconds, almost a second ahead of his second-place competition.
His best event of the day may have actually been running the final leg of the 4×100 relay. He got the baton in probably third place but stormed down the straight-away and edged out Potts camp for a win by .08 seconds.
And then Meeks celebrated by imitating Usain Bolt’s signature celebration, so suffice to say Meeks learned how not to be scared of the crowd but instead love it and play to it.
“I’m glad I was successful,” Meeks said. “I trained hard and tried my best, so being a state champion this year and last year; compared to last year many, many more people here.”
Meeks finished off his day by finishing second in the 200-meter dash, running it in 23.17 seconds.