Tuesday, April 07, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot girls just shy of first

Leader sports editor

The Lady Panther track team followed its win last Tuesday as hosts of the Walmart Invitational with a narrow second-place finish to Fayetteville on Thursday at the Army National Guard Cyclone Relays in Russellville.

The Fayetteville girls won the 18-team meet with 98.5 points. Cabot was right on the Lady Bulldogs’ heels with 97 points, despite only taking part of the team to the meet.

“Well they moved this one up a day because they were afraid of getting rained out,” said Cabot coach Leon White. “We just had our meet Tuesday and with this one moving to Thursday, we just decided to take a skeleton crew. We brought most of our top girls so we were still able to do pretty well.”

Cabot’s 4x100 and 4x400 relay team picked up its second record-setting performance of the week. Danielle McWilliams, Tori Weeks, Alyssa Hamilton and Lexi Weeks ran a 49.80 to beat the school record time of 50.03 it set just two days earlier. Conway finished second, also with a very fast time of 50.57.

That same four, in a different order of Hamilton, McWilliams, Tori Weeks and Lexi Weeks, ran a 4:04.84 in the 4x400 to beat second-place Har-Ber High by nearly six seconds.

The Weeks twins improved their pole vaults from Tuesday, finishing tied for first place by clearing 13-feet, 8-inches. The national record of 14-3 ¼ still eluded the elite jumpers who have already signed with the Razorbacks’ elite college program.

Lexi Weeks also won the 400-meter race with a time of 57.61, nearly three seconds better than Haley Hood of Bryant and 1.22 seconds faster than her winning time on Tuesday. Tori Weeks won the 300-meter hurdles by almost four seconds over Rachel Ray of Alma with a time of 44.82, which was also faster than her 45.68 on Tuesday.

The twins also finished one and two in the long jump, with Lexi’s 17-9 3/4 beating Tori’s 17-9 1/2 by 1/4 of an inch. Lauren Holmes of Fayetteville was third at 17-3.

Tori Weeks was also right on the cusp of a win in the triple jump. Her jump of 36-9 was a mere inch behind Holmes’ 36-10, and a full 11 inches further than her third-place jump on Tuesdsay.

Samantha Nickell picked up six points for the Lady Panthers in the 3,200-meter race. She also anchored Cabot’s fifth-place 4x800 relay finish that also included Brayden Giesler, Madison Barnhill and Hamilton.

Caytee Wright also turned in a fifth-place finish in the high jump, clearing 4-10.

The most notable absence for Cabot was distance runner Micah Huckabee, who recently was offered a scholarship by and verbally committed to the University of Arkansas.

The Sylvan Hills Lady Bears also competed, and though they only tallied 9.5 points and finished 15 among predominantly 6A and 7A competition, a pair of freshmen introduced themselves with strong showings in the sprints. Brielle Hayes placed sixth in the 100-meter dash, while Chanel Miller finished eighth for one point in the 200m. But it wasn’t just sprints that Sylvan Hills excelled in. The Lady Bear 4x800 relay team finished fourth. It included sophomore Dallyn Stubbs, senior Justis Jakes, freshman Erykah Sanders and sophomore Chloe George.

The Lady Bears’ final point came via an eighth-place finish in the triple jump by Makayla Smith, who leaped 32-2 1/4.

The Cabot boys’ team turned in a respectable seventh-place finish in the 21-team boys’ competition. The Panthers finished with 31 points while the Sylvan Hills boys scored 14 points to place 14th.

Brandon Jones finished second in the discus throw with a fling of 141-1, not far behind Fayetteville’s Blake Young’s winning throw of 142.6.

Sylvan Hills’ senior sprinter Keyundra Hardimon took fifth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.35 while Cabot sophomore Britton Alley was seventh at 11.45. Fort Smith Northside’s Keondre Thomas set the meet standard at 11.07 seconds.

Cabot senior Brayden Mercantel took sixth in the mile with a time of 4:44.83, about 16 seconds behind Conway junior Toler Freyaldenhoven’s winning time of 4:28.05.

Sylvan Hills sophomore Anthony Duncan took fifth in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 16.36.

Panther sophomore Braxton Burton and junior Rocky Burke finished third and fourth in the pole vault, jumping 12-6 and 12-0 respectively.

Sophomore Howard Jacob added three points to Cabot’s total with a sixth-place, 20-5 1/2 long jump. Cabot’s 4x100 relay team took sixth while the 4x400 team finished eighth. The 4x100 team included Austin Morse, Connor Daigle, Alley and Burke. The 4x400 team included Howard, Mercantel, Burke and Brandon Whitley.