Coaches praise their athletes
The Berryville Bobcat boys' and girls' track teams dominated the district 1AAA senior high track meet last Thursday, with both teams bringing home the championship trophies.
The boys won the team title with 207 points, easily outdistancing second-place West Fork, who had 74 points. The girls had to fight off Huntsville to win, 136 to 126, and it wasn't decided until the final event.
The Green Forest girls finished fourth with 36 points, just edging Eureka Springs, who had 35. The Green Forest boys finished fifth in their division.
Relay teams and individuals that finished either first or second qualified for the state preliminary meet this Friday at Heber Springs. The finals will be held May 9 in Hot Springs.
Boys- 1- Berryville- 207; 2- West Fork- 74; 3- tie- Huntsville & Gentry- 62; 5- Green Forest- 31; 6- Gravette- 28; 7- Farmington- 24; 8- Prairie Grove- 16; 9- Eureka Springs- 10; 10- Lincoln- 8.
Girls- 1- Berryville- 136; 2- Huntsville- 126; 3- Gentry- 94; 4- Green Forest- 36; 5- Eureka Springs- 35; 6- Prairie Grove- 30; 7- West Fork- 25; 8- Gravette- 16; 9- Lincoln- 8; 10- Farmington- 7.
Coach Ben Lairamore had his Bobcats ready, and said, "It was a big win. Our kids did everything I asked them to do, and they did it to their best. It was a good tune-up for the state prelims at Heber Springs this Friday."
Lairamore said senior Tommy Shaffer "is our leader. The kids have a great deal of confidence in him. He really performs."
Shaffer won the 100, 200, and 400m dashes, and ran on the winning 400 and 1600m relays.
"We had seven seniors that stayed out, and that's hard to do," Lairamore said. "Tommy Shaffer, Miguel Gil, Jason Grigg, John Hatfield, Eric Perkins, Jaime Soto, and Jason Swint stayed with it.
"We had 14 qualify for state, and had six ninth-graders run for us. Chris Donahue was second in the 400, ran on the 1600m relay team, and was third in the 100.
"Our juniors really contributed a lot this year. We had eight juniors on the team and two qualified for state, Joseph Harris and Michael Johnson. They live in the weight room.
"Our sophomores were really strong. We had nine sophomores and six qualified for state.
"It was close, a war from beginning to end," a tired Coach Ken Krumwiede said about the Lady Bobcats' march to the championship. "We had to scrap for points. Everybody had to perform at 110 percent with Huntsville and Gentry so close."
Krumwiede has been head coach of the girls for six years and they've won the district title each time, but it was close this year.
"We were down 120 to 108 after the 200m dash, but we had four in the 3200m run and Huntsville didn't have anybody," Krumwiede said. "We took second, third, fourth, and fifth, and went from 112 down to eight ahead.
"The last event was the 1600m relay, and if Huntsville finished first, we needed fourth place or better to win the meet. The girls took second.
"Also, Lindsey Moore came to run the 800, but when Stefanie Meister hurt her ankle, I asked Lindsey to run the 400 instead. She did, and won, and that was a big ten points.
"A big trooper was Brianna Smith, who had just run the 800. She stepped right back on the track as a replacement when we had someone drop out. She got fourth. And Rachael Blanchard and Lora Spurgin came through. Rachael has been consistent all year, makes practices with a good attitude, and gets after it.
"We qualified four individuals for state, and all our relays."
Green Forest Girls
Coach Mike Gotcher said Jennifera Fultz won the 300m hurdles and 200m dash, was second in the 100m hurdles, and had previously qualified for state in the high jump. She went to state in all but the 200m dash last year.
"We didn't know the field, but I knew she had the ability," Gotcher said about Fultz's win in the 200m dash. "She had only run it once before. She had a good meet, did real well. The high jump was early in the morning and it was cold, and she only placed third. But she had already jumped 5-1 earlier, so qualified for state with that.
"She was close for high point honors. And Brittany Gotcher, Jessica Joubert, and Anika Leathers all ran the 800 and 1600m races. Jessica finished fifth in the 800."
Green Forest Boys
"I thought the kids competed hard in the events they were in, but we were a little short-handed as a team," Coach Claude Whited said. "We did qualify our 3200m relay team for state ---- they were second ---- and that's a big deal for us."
James Kolb, Ryan Watson, Jonathan Hayhurst, and Kevin Hartsell finished second to Berryville in the 3200m relay. Both teams will go to state.
Hayhurst was second in the 800m dash and will also get to run that event Friday at the state prelims in Heber Springs.
In the 3200m run, Kolb was fifth, Caleb Hayhurst sixth, and Isaac Carpenter seventh.
Eureka Springs Girls
"I thought the kids competed well for the numbers we had," Coach Hassell Bell said. " I was well pleased. The overall effort by all the kids was outstanding.
"Becca Wallis had a good day. She was second in the 400m dash, which qualified her for state, and just missed second in the 100m hurdles by six one-hundreths of a second.
"Kristen Cuypers, a ninth-grader, was sixth in the 100 and 300m hurdles. Eileen Quinn long jumped, and Ashley Smith was sixth in the 800m run. Ashley finished third in the 1600m run, and Lauren Smith was fourth. Our 1600m relay team was fourth."
Eureka Springs Boys
Ashton Thurman was the only Highlander runner to qualify for state. He won the 800m dash going away in 2:02.29, with Jonathan Hayhurst of Green Forest second in 2:10.16.
"Ashton's race was outstanding," Coach Bell said. "We're looking forward to competing at state."