McCoy breaks MAIS records at state meet
NATCHEZ — Arzell McCoy exhibited natural athletic abilities early on, which continues to grow in every sport he plays.
The multi-sport Trinity Episcopal Day School athlete just finished a stellar year, from a football state championship, a trip to the overall tournament in basketball and to cap it all off, McCoy just returned from Jackson with five state championships in track and field events.
But McCoy didn’t just win, he broke records.
McCoy broke the record for 300-meter hurdles event and set a new record for all classifications with a time of 38.63 seconds. He also won the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.76, which set a new record in Class A and was about one-tenth of a second from setting an MAIS all-classifications record in that event.
Trinity’s relay team of Cade Wells, Quinton Logan, Tommy McCoy and Arzell McCoy won two events — the 4×200 meter relay in a time of 1:32.97 and the 4×400 meter relay in a time of 3:42.71.
McCoy also won first place in the high jump with a height of 6 feet, 6 inches.
McCoy said it seemed he was destined for athletic success from an early age.
“I was always athletic. Growing up I used to play a lot of Tee Ball, but I could never hit the ball off the stand. I started playing football in middle school, but track just came naturally,” McCoy said. “Everybody in my family ran track: my parents, their brothers and sisters, even my grandparents.”
Track and field was the only sport McCoy stuck with consistently since he was a young boy, but he said he didn’t realize his full potential until he was 15 years old and began getting the hang of running hurdles events.
“I used to run track a lot growing up, but I never did the hurdles (until my eighth-grade year),” he said. “I was used to the triple jump and long jump, jumping was my main thing, but (running) just came natural.
“I had untamed speed until the hurdles got in front of me, and I had to learn to maintain my speed.”
Trinity track coach Curtis Moroney said he noticed McCoy’s raw athleticism before he ever saw him run on the track.
“First time I saw Arzell was in football season, and just watching him run down the football field I was like ‘Oh my God, he can really run,’” Moroney said. “Some kids just have a natural, beautiful stride.
“You can teach a kid to throw, you can teach a kid to catch, but you can’t teach a kid to run. It’s something they either have or not.”
After two years of hard work, McCoy said he became confident in his ability to compete in track events, and his confidence was tested earlier this season.
McCoy competed in the Ole Miss High School Invitational in April and went against some of the premier high school athletes in the state.
“I went against the No. 1 hurdler in the state (Victor Montgomery of McComb High School),” McCoy said. “We came across the finish line neck and neck, it was a photo finish. He won because he was in the inside lane. In my mind, I won because if they had an outside (lane) camera, they would’ve seen me win instead.”
Though he came out in second, the meet gave McCoy the confidence he needed to make a run for the MAIS Class A state title.
“My mindset was I have to go for it all,” McCoy said. “I knew I had a chance to break the high jump and 110 hurdles record, but not knowing at the time I could break the 300 hurdles, too.”
McCoy said he remembers getting a crisp start off his block when the gun sounded in the 300-meter hurdle event, and of all the noise from the stands he could hear his father’s voice.
“When I came out of the curve around the 100 (meter) mark, my dad was yelling out 21.22 (seconds) and I knew I had to be at the next mark in the next 10 seconds,” McCoy said. “When I crossed the finish line and the man called my time of 38.63 seconds, I knew I did it.”
Looking back on his five track and field titles and the impressove run times he set in the MAIS, McCoy said he feels accomplished.
“It feels good knowing you did something you always wanted to do, something you have a passion for and you want to go to college for,” McCoy said.
Moroney said he could see McCoy choosing from an array for colleges that would be happy to have McCoy on their team.
“Track is a very quantitative thing, every track is the same, the intangibles of an athlete sometimes is what can make the difference,” Moroney said. “He’s clearly the best there is in private school. He’s coachable, he works hard, teachers love him and he makes good grades.”
McCoy said he hopes to choose which college he will attend within the next week, and major in either agricultural landscaping or agricultural farming.
McCoy is the son of Gail Sherman and Arzell McCoy.