PEARL, MS (WLBT) - In May of 2017, former Pearl Pirate and Mississippi State track standout, Kaelin Kersh, was tragically killed in a car accident.
Friday afternoon, the Pirates and high school athletes from Mississippi (and Alabama) honored Kaelin and her father George at an invitational track and field meet.
“It’s very special when you get the opportunity to honor your daughter and myself,” George said. “But especially my daughter.”
In 1986, George established himself as the number one high school 800 meter runner in the nation. His daughter Kaelin followed in his footsteps, running the 800 among other races. Kaelin shined at Pearl and went on to have a stellar career at MSU. But days after graduating, she was tragically killed.
George hopes this race allows kids the chance to show off their speed and get a scholarship to compete at the next level. Just like his daughter did.
Hernando senior Katelyn Cartwright won the 800 meter race for the girls with a time of 2:16.24.
“Honestly at the start of the race, I was in tears,” Cartwright said. “I just knew that I have so much to give that I have to give it all. Not for myself, not for my teammates, not for my coaches, but for her (Kaelin).”
Pearl senior Patrick Spurgeon won the 800 meter race for the boys with a time of 1:56.93, which set a new record.
“It feels amazing to me to win a race named after my coach who I look up to for the 800," Spurgeon said. “Ever since I’ve started running track, I’ve wanted to be like him (George).”
High schools that participated: Brandon, Brookhaven, Clinton, Florence, Hattiesburg, Hewitt-Trussville (AL), Laurel, Madison Central, Northwest Rankin, Ocean Springs, Pearl, Southaven, Terry, Vicksburg, Warren Central and Winona.