Storms, rain overshadow finals of state track meet
The state track finals in all classifications were held last Friday and Saturday at Hot Springs High School, with storms on Friday causing competitors and event organizers a lot of trouble.
Mist, rain, wet surfaces, and eventually major storms that delayed action, had to be dealt with by competitors on Friday, in addition to the toughest competition of the year.
Due to the awful weather, times and distances weren't up to last week's preliminary efforts, but all the Carroll County athletes did their best, with several improving their finishes. Here's the story, school by school.
Freshman Ashley Knapp finished eighth at the prelims in Heber Springs last week and was Eureka's lone qualifier.
In spite of poor conditions, Knapp improved two places in the finals, finishing sixth in 1:07.10.
"That's what we were shooting for," Coach Hassell Bell said. "She picked off two people the last 60 yards on the way to the finish line."
How bad were conditions?
"It was rough. They were mopping the track in between races," Bell reported. "Ashley got her ribbon after the race, then there was a big boom, and everyone was sent to the buses. There was a big storm on the way back."
Coach Bell said he took seven or eight of the younger athletes in the program along so they could see the meet, and provide support for Knapp. Of course, the bus was driven by Ben Rivett, who got them all safely home again.
"I was tickled for her, and proud of her effort," Bell said about Knapp. "She will be back next year for cross country and track.
Another freshman left her mark at the state meet, as Emily Bell tied the BHS school record in the girls' shot on her first throw with a heave of 31-8-1/2.
"It was raining during the field events," Coach Ken Krumwiede said. "The shot put arena was wet and slick, but Emily hit the school record on her first throw and I thought, 'Here we go,' but that was her best. She had six throws, and ended up seventh.
"I was pleased, considering the weather conditions," Krumwiede said.
Bobcat Josh Webb held his ground in the discus, finishing as he did in the prelims last week, in fourth place. That in spite of throwing just 128-5, which was more than 10 feet shorter than last week's toss.
"It was like throwing through soup," Coach Ben Lairamore said. "Everybody threw shorter, due to the terrible conditions, but he still finished fourth."
Nathan Keys competed in the shot put, but the wet conditions threw him off and he only marked a 42-8 foot throw.
"He didn't throw very well," Lairamore said. "He's thrown 47 feet indoors, and had 46 in the prelims."
Sophomore Chris Donahue had a good run in the 400m dash, although some of the events were run sooner than scheduled in an attempt to beat the rain, leaving competitors little warmup time.
"He finished fourth and ran a 52.56," Lairamore said, which was a great effort in the muggy conditions.
Lairamore also said high jumper Josh Kriesel had to try to clear the bar "in a monsoon. On his last jump, he just caught the bar with his calf, then hit the mat and squirted off it like a watermelon seed. He skinned his shoulder up pretty good."
Lairamore said just five competitors cleared the opening height, due to the poor conditions.
Lady Tiger Maribeth Waters was the lone competitor and improved herself in the 1600m run.
Waters finished fifth, one place better than last week in the prelims, but ran a slower time of 6:17.49. Her prelim time was 6:05.
Waters prepared for the event through workouts with her AAU basketball team and proved that inside players can also hang with the distance crowd in track.