Friday, May 03, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Weather hampers 7A meet

Leader sports editor

Conditions were not ideal for anyone at the 7A state track meet in Bentonville on Thursday as local teams North Little Rock and Cabot battled through rainy conditions, a cold 42 degree temperature and winds around 15 miles per hour.

The North Little Rock boys took third place with 68 points behind winner Rogers Heritage, whose 108 points barely beat out meet host Bentonville’s 106.

The Cabot girls turned in a fourth-place performance with 50 points, behind 7A West teams Bentonville, Fayetteville and Springdale Har-Ber.

“It was the most challenging conditions I’ve ever seen kids have to deal with in track and field,” Cabot assistant coach Chris Beavert said. “But having said that, our kids braved the conditions very well. I thought they stepped up to compete as good or better than any team there.”

The Lady Panthers had several meets together with Bryant this year and never outscored the Lady Hornets until Thursday. They also finished second to Fort Smith Southside at the conference meet a week ago, but beat out the Lady Rebels at state.

“It was a very rewarding experience for us as coaches to see those kids push themselves and each other to compete, regardless of uncontrollable variables that presented themselves,” Beavert said.

Tori Weeks was the big winner for the Lady Panthers with a win in the pole vault, though she and twin sister Lexi had an even 12-0 height. Tori Weeks was also third in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 50.10, while Lexi Weeks was fourth in the long jump with a distance of 17-3.

The Weeks twins were also on the two Cabot relay teams to place at the event. The 4x100-meter relay team that also included Rochelle Mallory and Ladasha Evans took third with a time of 51.50, and the 4x400-meter relay team comprised of the same four finished fourth in the event with a 4:29.03 time.

Marlene Sheehan and Megan Duncan also recorded top-ten finishes for Cabot in the 3,200-meter run.

Anthony Louden finished second for North Little Rock in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.48, while teammates Brad Agee and Martavious Strozier finished fifth and sixth respectively in the 110-meter high hurdles. Martinez Butler took third in the 300-meter high hurdles with a time of 41.75.

Butler also finished right behind teammate Charleston Bonds in the long jump. Bonds was fifth with a distance of 21-00 while Butler was sixth with a 20-7.25, and Butler took second in the triple jump with a distance of 45-4.75.

Marcus Lindsey won the discus throw with a distance of 157-00, and was sixth in the shot put with a distance of 47-10.50. Deon Tidwell was sixth in the discus event with a 132-6 toss.

On the girls’ side, Malica Monk was seventh in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.72, while Lagradia Nelson took third in the 200-meter dash with a time of 26.16. Monk was also second in the long jump with a distance of 17-4.75.

The Cabot boys recorded most of their points through strong performances in the relay events, though Hadyen Richey did manage a seventh-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 43.2.

The team of Dylan Ball, Clay Killingsworth, John Sowden and Riley Hillegas finished seventh in the 4x800-meter relay with an 8:55.24 time, while the team of Richey, Sowden, Seth Hoggard and Mark Odom took sixth in the 4x400-meter relay with a time of 3:47.14.

Cabot head coach Leon White said the worst thing about the conditions was how it will effect next week’s Meet of Champions in Hot Springs.

“The teams that had their meets down here or earlier in the week got to compete in much better weather,” White said. “It really effected the competitors and hurt our times and distances. They take the winners of each event from all the classes, but then just take the next five best times, so it’s almost not even fair.”

Bentonville High School asked the Arkansas High School Activities Association if the meet could be postponed until Wednesday, but the request was denied.

“I’ll give you a perfect example,” White said. “Our girls 4x400 relay team ran a 4:09 at conference last week. They ran their hearts out up there at Bentonville with that wind and rain driving down on them, and came in at 4:29. It was a meet like I’ve never seen before where if you weren’t competing, you were huddled up under a tent, or on the bus or with your parents in the car just waiting for your call. It was miserable and it’s going to hurt a lot of good athletes and their chances to make the meet of champs.”