Small numbers qualify for AAA, AA state track finals
Area teams qualified several athletes for the state track finals this Friday in Hot Springs at preliminary meets in Heber Springs and Danville.
The Berryville and Green Forest squads competed in Heber Springs in the AAA classification, while Eureka Springs athletes raced at Danville against AA teams.
There are eight districts in each classification, and first and second place from the district meets make it to the prelims. That is 16 athletes, but any athlete that has made a state qualifying mark is also included, so there can be up to 19 or 20 in one event. Only eight go to Hot Springs for the finals.
Here's the results from each county school.
Coach Hassell Bell took four girls to Danville, with ninth-grader Ashley Knapp the lone qualifier for the AA state finals this Friday at Hot Springs.
Knapp took second at the district meet in the 400m dash, then turned in a 1:06.56 clocking in the state prelims, a full three seconds faster than her previous best.
"I think Ashley has a chance to point at Hot Springs," Coach Bell said. "The last three places in the prelims all ran times in 1:06. She ran in a slow heat and ran by herself last Friday, so she should do better this week."
Knapp, Ashley Smith, Jessica Parsons, and Brianna Freeman also competed in the 400m relay and the 1600m relay, but didn't qualify for the state finals this Friday.
"We ran the best we could, thanks to the willingness of some of the younger kids to fill in," Bell said. "With that commitment from our younger athletes, I expect the program to grow in the future."
At Heber Springs
Girls- Maribeth Waters was the lone Lady Tigers running. She competed in the 1600m run and used a strong finish to place sixth, qualifying for the finals this week.
Waters is playing AAU basketball this spring, and was concerned that she didn't have enough conditioning. But she ran a 6:08, coming from behind in the last lap to pass three competitors to make it to the finals.
Boys- Coach Claude Whited took five boys to the AAA state prelims, with the 3200m relay team missing a trip to the finals by .25 seconds.
"We had two seniors that didn't run because they are graduating this Friday and couldn't go to Hot Springs," Coach Whited said. "But Trey Kerby, Juan Pineda, Jonathan Hayhurst, and Vince Lazzarotto did their best."
The team ran a 9:00.06, and it took an 8:59.41 to qualify for the finals.
In other action, Justin Wyas went 20-feet in the long jump, Hayhurst ran 2:11 in the 800m run, and Pineda, after getting knocked down in the 800, got up and ran a 2:20. Kerby ran a 5:07 in the 1600m run, but none of those times qualified for the finals this Friday.
"It was a great track year," Coach Whited said. "I was disappointed for the relay team, but the competition gets tougher each year in AAA as bigger schools move down into that classification."
At Heber Springs
Girls- Coach Ken Krumwiede had two girls qualify for the finals at Hot Springs. Ninth-grader Emily Bell threw 31-7 in the shot put and is just 1-1/2 feet away from setting a new school record.
"She's just a freshman, and this trip is a big plus for her," Krumwiede said. "It will be a good experience to see the other girls in the event.
The other qualifier was senior Lauren Ellis, who ran her best time in two years in the 3200m run. Ellis ran 14:03.46, and that after running a leg of the 3200m relay.
"Lauren was a surprise," Krumwiede said. "Our 1600m relay team ran their best time, a 4:38, and Mary Howze was the big surprise there. She ran a 64.16 on her leg. But the times were real fast and they didn't qualify.
"Overall, our results were somewhat disappointing," he said.
Competing but not qualifying were: Kayla Phillips, pole vault; 3200m relay- 11:50- Trista McGinley, Shawna Miller, Rachael Reuter, Ellis; Lindsey Moore, 400m dash- 65.96; Ellis, 1600m run- 6:31; 400m relay- 56.67- Lindsey Box, Emily Taylor, Moore, and Lora Spurgin; Grace Howze, shot put- 28-11; McGinley, 3200m run- 14:37; 1600m relay- 4:38- Taylor, M.Howze, Reuter, Moore.
Boys- Coach Ben Lairamore took 18 boys to the meet, with four qualifying for the state finals.
Josh Webb qualified in the discus, Nathan Keys in the shot put, Josh Kriesel in the high jump, and Chris Donahue in the 400m dash.
"Josh threw real well, his best all year," Lairamore said about the 139-9 heave. "Nate threw better, a 46-5-1/2, but his best was indoor, a 47. But he's on the way back.
"I was hoping Josh would get six feet in the high jump, and on his third try he got it, then made 6-2, which was the icing on the cake. It was a great comeback from a muscle injury on his quad," Lairamore said.
"Donahue ran a good 400m, finished strong. Coach (Jack) Edens was tickled to death.
"Overall, the kids did as well as they could. The competition level was high, but they gave it their best shot," Lairamore said.
Competing but not qualifying were: Eric Hill, 400m dash- 56.46; Chris Schultz, 1600m run- 5:07; Donahue, 200m dash- 23.61; Brandon Smith, 3200m run- 11:42; Donahue, long jump- 19-6; Pole vault- Cody McEnaney, Tye Roberts; 400m relay- 45.3- Joesph Harris, Micheal Johnson, Josh Jackson, Donahue; 1600m relay- 3:47- Justin Summers, Casey Eastwood, Sergio Gil, Hill.