Tuesday, May 17, 2011

SPORTS >> Myers sets record, Panthers hit stride

Leader sportswriter

The wind couldn’t slow Cabot distance runner Emily “Emkay” Myers at the Meet of Champs at Lake Hamilton High School on Saturday.

Cabot’s track team braved time-hampering gusts and prevailed in three events, with Myers setting a new 3,200-meter girls record.

Myers, a junior, won the 3,200-meter run and broke a 28-year-old record with her time of 11:01.32 to surpass Allison Welk’s 1983 record by 0.02.

Cabot senior pole vaulter Ariel Voskamp set a new school record with a vault of 12-10 while the boys 3,200-meter relay team of Phillip Treat, Chris Dunbar, Zach White and Jacob Luckett won with a time of 8:11.72.

Myers, whose previous best this year was a little over 11:25, went into the Meet of Champs with a personal goal of running under 11 minutes.

Though she fell just short, Myers was able to push herself consistently despite running alone at the front through most of the race. She ran the first half of the race in 5:29 and ran the final mile in 5:31.

Maggie Montoya of Rogers, the other top long-distance prospect in the state, sat out the 3,200 after her victory in the 1,600-meters.

“She did real good,” Cabot track coach Leon White said of Myers. “We were hoping there would be somebody in there who would push her, but nobody went with her. And it was windy.”

White said Myers might have gotten her sub-11 minute time otherwise, but there was no reason to be disappointed.

“Still, it was a great race,” he said.

Voskamp, a University of Arkansas track and field signee, easily claimed the top spot with her season-high vault and earned an invitation to a Nike showcase in the Pacific Northwest this summer. Teammate Julia Gairhan was seventh with a vault of 10-0.

Voskamp did not fare as well in the hurdles. A glitch in the lineups put her in the slow heat of the 100-meter high hurdles, but she appeared to recover with a strong performance in the 300-meter hurdles until she hit the seventh hurdle with her lead leg and fell.

Voskamp was uninjured but finished the race well off the pace.

The boys 3,200-meter relay team backed up its winning performance in the 7A state tournament in Conway the previous week. The boys’ time was nearly four seconds better than the 8:08.05 they finished in at state.

Cabot’s boys 1,600-meter relay team of Treat, Max Carroll, Nick Boris and Clint Cates finished fourth with a time of 3:27.44.

Voskamp will lead a contingent of seven Panthers when Cabot plays host to the Decathlon/Heptathlon today. Voskamp finished seventh in the Heptathlon last year as a junior and teammate Sabrina Antimo finished ninth.

Mansfield’s Jessica Otto won the Hepthalton last year.

Gairhan and McKenzie Spence will join Voskamp, Antimo and Myers in the girls events and Treat and Zach White will represent the Cabot boys.

Voskamp’s primary event, the pole vault, is not part of the Hepthalon’s seven events. But Voskamp is competitive in the hurdles, the high and long jumps and the discus.

Antimo is a sprinter, and should collect points in the 200-meter dash and hurdles. Leon White said he expects her to also do well in the shot put and discus.

Gairhan has a style similar to Voskamp’s with the long jump and hurdles as two of her better events.

Spence, who came up through the Panthers’ ranks as an 800-meters runner and a member of the 1,600-meter relay teams, is new to many of the events, including high jump and discuss.

But Leon White said Spence has been working on the discus over the last week and has shown fast improvement.

Treat is a versatile athlete who Leon White said will do well in most events. Treat has run a full flight of hurdles in practice but never in competition, but White expects him to hold his own in the shot and discus.

Zach White is a distance runner with little experience in most of the events. Leon White said he should do well in the mile and 400-meter races, but will have to play from behind in most of the other events.