Wingfield High School Track & Field team’s swan song ‘best in Mississippi’

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Coach Fred Champion

The 2024 state high school Track and Field championships were held at Pearl High School. For the Wingfield High School Falcons, it was their swan song.

You see, Wingfield High School closed its doors for good at the end of May 2024 due to a recent Jackson Public School Board decision to reconfigure its system and close a handful of older schools that were experiencing declining enrollment and deteriorating structural integrity.  Unfortunately, Wingfield High was among those schools closed to the dismay of students, parents, and community leaders.

However, Wingfield Track and Field head coach Fred Champion did not let the closing of Wingfield deter his kids. The Track and Field team forged ahead to the state meet with 12 athletes in Division 6-A. Wingfield won in the state 4×1 and 4×4 relays as the Best in Mississippi. Then Wingfield went on to win regional and super-regional for 2024.

Coach Champion ended his 21-year career with a Best in Mississippi award for his service to Wingfield High School. “We are the last; there will never be another win for Wingfield. My athletes won’t get to walk these sacred hallways and/or run on the hallowed grounds of a landmark school that’s been a part of the South Jackson community since 1966. Even during the rough periods of Jackson Public School integration, Wingfield prevailed. This Track and Field win is a fitting end for the school year and the end of a community staple,” said Coach Champion.

Coach Champion said Wingfield seniors have won three football and track and field scholarships with athletes going to the University of Southern Mississippi and East Central Community College. Coach Champion says, “I am going to collect a bag of Wingfield High School memorabilia to give to my athletes because they did not have an athletic banquet this year so they will have something to hold on to in remembrance of their beloved Wingfield. Because there will never be another graduation ceremony for Wingfield…this is the end of a school that served as a community gathering place. I’ll keep in touch with all of my athletes so they will have someone who was part of Wingfield to hold on to. I will follow my champion athletes through college and beyond as I know they will continue to be champions in whatever career path they take.”

Coach Champion reports: “One of my proudest moments at Wingfield was the front-page feature of Eddie Parish in the Mississippi High School Activities Association Magazine 2016 for his accomplishments in Track and Field and a full scholarship to Jackson State University. I raised funds to give him a championship ring.”

Wingfield will not merge with another high school in Jackson. The plan is for Wingfield students to be assigned to Provine High School, Jim Hill High School, and Forest Hill High School. “Parents trusted the teachers and the process at Wingfield. Students will have to establish themselves at another high school and make a name for themselves wherever they land in the district. Wingfield was a lifeline in this community,” said Champion. 

Coach Champion will move on to Provine High School as a Track and Field coach and as an Exceptional Education teacher.

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Wingfield High School Track & Field team’s swan song ‘best in Mississippi’

By Brinda Fuller Willis
June 25, 2024