Saturday, April 20, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot girls still improving

Leader sports editor

Thought it’s not a conference rivalry, Bryant has become a measuring rod and a target for the Lady Panther track team this year, and the Cabot girls inch closer and closer with each new meet. The Lady Hornets beat Cabot once again on Tuesday at the Walmart Invitational at Panther Stadium, but they did it by their smallest margin to date.

The Bryant girls finished with 169 points in the 10-team event that was smaller than originally scheduled because the first date of April 2 was postponed. Cabot took second place with 151 points, eight points closer than the margin from last Friday at Russellville.

The Cabot boys turned in a good performance as well, finishing third place with 79 points behind Conway and Bryant, who scored 146 and 128 respectively.

Familiar names littered the leader boards for the Lady Panthers, with sophomore twins Tori and Lexi Weeks excelling in sprints and jumping events, and sophomore Micah Huckabee continuing to become a force in distance races.

Huckabee easily won the 1600 with a time of 5:38.94, almost 11 seconds ahead of second-place Talyn Billins of Bryant. Cabot junior Marlene Sheehan also finished in the points in the 1600, taking fifth place in 6:01.72. Sheehan got her first win of the year though in the 3200. Her time of 12:53.09 beat Mount St. Mary’s Andrea Nunez-Garcia by five seconds. Sheehan’s teammate Meagan Duncan took third in the event to give Cabot 16 points in the race.

Huckabee was beaten in the 800 by Bryant’s Melinda Murdock and settled for second place. Cabot junior Seaton Howard took seventh in the event for two points.

The twins, as they’ve done several times this year, finished in the top two spots in the pole vault. Tori went a season’s best 12-7 for first place while Lexi cleared 11-6, a full 18 inches higher than third place Catherine Sales of Jonesboro.

Cabot’s Ladaysha Evans joined Lexi Weeks in the points in the 100-meter dash. Weeks finished fifth and Evans eighth behind winner Tamara Kuyinendall of Little Rock Central. Lexi Weeks also took third place in the 200-meter dash behind Bryant’s Feniece Boone and Jonesboro’s Dawnta Dobbins.

Evans and Lexi Weeks finished in seventh and second-place in the long jump. Weeks leaped 17-8, just one inch shy of winner Alexis Royal of Bryant, while Evans went 16-2. The top two were the same in the triple jump, with Royal’s 36-8 beating Lexi Weeks’ 34-3 1/2. Rochelle Mallory also did well in the triple jump for Cabot, leaping 30-2 1/2 for fifth place and four points.

Carlee Wright and Haley Buford took second and fourth in the shot put. Wright’s second-place toss of 30-9 was still more than five feet short of Jonesboro’s Raquel Williams’ 35-10. Buford took second in the discus, and was just a foot shy of first with a fling of 93-6. Joydai Graves of West Memphis won that event.

Rachael Hall finished seventh to earn two points for Cabot in the 100-meter hurdles. Tori Weeks and Mallory finished third and fourth in the 300 hurdles, again behind Bryant’s Royal.

Cabot’s Courtney Briswalter finished fourth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:06.69. Bryant’s Boone left the field behind in that event with a time of 58.19.

Despite the success in the sprints, Cabot’s 4x100 relay team of the Weeks sisters, Evans and Mallory still has some work to do to catch Bryant.

The Lady Hornet team finished in 48.71 seconds, but the excitement was for second place. Cabot took second and earned the eight points, but two, three and four all finished within .9 seconds of each other. Huckabee replaced Mallory to make up the 4x400 relay team, which also finished second, this time a full eight seconds behind Little Rock Central’s 4:03.55. The Cabot team of Sheehan, Lexi Morrison, Duncan and Howard took third in the 4x800 behind Bryant and Conway.

The high jump was the only event in which the Lady Panthers failed to score.

Like he’s done in nearly every race this year, Conway’s Brandon Cox won the boys 100-meter dash, but he was pushed like never before on Tuesday.

Cox beat Central’s Tre James by 1/100th of a second, finishing in 10.98. Cabot’s Layton Alley took fourth and earned five points with a time of 11.37. Alley scored a point in the 200-meter dash as well, finishing in eighth place.

The Panthers put two runners in the points in the 400 meters. Zach Launius took second place behind Bryant’s John Winn, while John Sowden was seventh.

The Panthers, which has had successful sprint relay teams this year, did not enter a 4x100 relay team on Tuesday.

Senior Clay Killingsworth took sixth for Cabot in the 800 meters but the Panthers were shut out of the points in the 1600 and 3200.

Hayden Richey took second for Cabot in the grueling 300-meter hurdles and fifth in the 110 hurdles. Teammate and fellow junior A.J. McClean took fifth in the 300 hurdles.

Cabot’s 4x400 relay team of Sowden, Seth Hoggard, Jaylen Hemphill and Launius took second place behind Bryant. The team of Killingsworth, Sowden, Hillegas and Logan Boyer won the 4x800 relay by more than 11 seconds with a time of 8:58.02.

Senior Peter Seyler finished fourth for Cabot in the high jump while Cody Evans was sixth. Richey took third in the pole vault, clearing 11-6. Searcy’s Camron Stalnaker won with a vault of 13-6 while Bryant’s Justin Combs took second at 13-0.

Juniors Aaron Henry and Keith Pledger went fifth and sixth in the shot put while Pledger also took fifth in the discus.