Fastest high school sprinter in the country hails from Tylertown
Fastest high school sprinter in the country hails from Tylertown
By Thomas Kendoziora
Senior Jordan Anthony has taken the U.S. track scene by storm this season, headlined by two national titles at the Nike Indoor Championships in New York earlier this month. He continued his dominance outdoors last weekend at the Christian Coleman Invite in Atlanta.
Anthony topped the elite field in New York by running the 60-meter dash in 6.69 seconds and the 200 meters in 20.64 seconds. The latter time is the third-fastest by a high schooler in U.S. history — and just .01 seconds behind the best high-school indoor time of Noah Lyles, last year’s Olympic bronze medalist in the event.
In Atlanta, Anthony bested himself with a 20.52-second 200 meters and added a 10.38 in the 100 meters, in which he won the outdoor national championship with a blistering 10.21 last year.
But it wasn’t just Anthony turning heads on the big stage. Tylertown’s 4×100 relay team of Kylon Magee, Jeremiah Dillon, Kendrell Robertson and Anthony finished second at the Coleman Invite with a state-record 40.60 time that’s third-best in the country this year.
Head coach Myreon Sartin’s program has become a powerhouse. The Chiefs won seven consecutive 3A state titles before a near miss in 2021, and Anthony’s rise to prominence has brought Tylertown squarely into the national spotlight. The Kentucky football and track signee’s name sits among legends, and he doesn’t plan on slowing down.
“It’s inspirational,” Anthony said. “Especially for the little kids that didn’t have anybody looking at them. It’s inspirational for the kids out here, especially in Tylertown.”
Football came first
Football came first. Anthony has played the game since he was 8 years old, and he and his fellow seniors led Tylertown to a 12-1 record in 2021. His speed on the field has always had the wow factor, whether he’s been at wide receiver or quarterback or kick returner.
Anthony never seriously considered track and field until meeting Sartin in seventh grade. As he recalls it, Sartin simply told Anthony’s mom that he would be on the team, and she agreed.
“He didn’t really ask me,” Anthony said with a laugh. “He told my mom, ‘Uh, he’s gonna be on the track team.’ And she was like, ‘OK, whatever you think he’s good at, just put him on there.’”
Sartin is the coach of both Tylertown High School and the XCEL Athletics club team; in national events, athletes run under club names rather than schools. Sartin is also the founder of BounceFit Athletics, a training company that services both teams. Blend all those ingredients and the result is high-level development unrivaled in this part of the state.
Anthony was a high jumper at first, but an injury to a teammate prompted Sartin to move Anthony and Dillon, his cousin, to sprint events. It didn’t take long to see the potential.
“He just took off his freshman year,” Sartin said. “We moved him up and he showed a little flash. At state, he was running 11.2’s and 11.1’s (in the 100) and 22’s (in the 200) and I was like, ‘OK, this little kid can run.’”
Dillon — an Ole Miss football signee — was the faster of the two cousins at first, but Anthony surpassed him as he grew and filled out his body. Sartin said Anthony has an “out-of-this-world” turnover (or stride frequency) and can maintain his maximum velocity longer than other top talents.
Anthony and Dillon remain competitive on the track — Dillon is in the top 50 nationally with 10.53 and 22.16 in the same events — but they’ve stayed supportive above all else. It’s been the best of both worlds, as the two have pushed each other toward greatness while maintaining a close, genuine bond.
“My parents taught me, be competitive, but at the same time, don’t be over-competitive,” Dillon said. “At first I was faster, and then it was just his time, and I’m gonna always congratulate what greatness is.”
Anthony’s first high school win came at the Southern Miss Invitational in March 2020, right before the pandemic shuttered the season. He returned from the stoppage (and a football season at Parklane) and excelled in 2021, winning 3A state championships with a 10.30 and 21.11 last May. He then bested himself at the Nike Outdoor Nationals in Eugene, OR, winning the 100 meters in 10.21 and finishing runner-up with 20.57 in the 200.
This February, Sartin challenged Anthony to run the 60 against pros in the Olympic Development division of the MVP Vibe Fest Chicagoland; he finished second to former Canadian Olympian Bolade Ajomale but ran a personal-best 6.65, preparing him well for the challenge in New York.
Anthony and Sartin arrived late the night before the Nike Indoor Championships and had limited time to prepare. But Anthony set a new indoor personal best with a 20.87 in the 200-meter prelims, then breezed to his two championships the next day.
“It was a lot of stuff happening real fast. We didn’t get the time to do all the things we were supposed to do,” Sartin said. “So when he came out and … we were trying to conserve energy and he ran a personal best, I was like, ‘This dude’s about to go. He’s about to fly.’”
There’s an extra pride in representing Mississippi on the sport’s biggest platforms. Athletes from the Magnolia State are used to being overlooked and having to fight for exposure. Having someone break through like Anthony has will leave a lasting impact for years to come.
“He’s put us in a spotlight,” Dillon said. “Now this makes it easier for the guys under us to get exposure against big competition.”
Committed to Kentucky
Anthony, a three-star receiver according to the 247Sports Composite, committed to Kentucky last summer and signed with the Wildcats in December. He’ll continue both careers in college, and while the year-round emphasis on football at the next level will present its challenges to his schedule, Anthony is confident the two worlds can continue to coexist.
“I’ll try to balance them just like I’m balancing them now,” he said. “I’ll do what I’ve got to do — just get in and fit in and prepare for the season.”
For now, Anthony is focused on winning championships this spring, both individually and with Tylertown. The Chiefs have talent across the board, from sprinters and jumpers to hurdlers and throwers. The girls team replaces some key seniors but has several all-state contenders as well.
All this from Tylertown, which has about 2,000 people and a high school with a graduating class of about 80. It’s no fluke, but it’s a stark outlier nationally, And those who are part of it know they can’t take it for granted.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing. It’s rare that this comes around,” Dillon said. “That’s why I want to cherish these moments, because this probably won’t happen again in our lifetime.”