Wednesday, April 06, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Panthers, Lady Bears place well at RHS

Leader sports editor

The Cabot boys weren’t at full strength, but managed a third-place finish out of 26 teams in the Cyclone Relays last Friday in Russellville. On the girls’ side, the Sylvan Hills Lady Bears took eighth out of 25 teams for the highest placement of local schools. Conway and Bryant finished first and second respectively in boys’ and girls’ meets.

The only Cabot athlete to win an even was junior Britton Alley, who won the 400-meter dash with a personal best 51.23. Beebe’s Keishun Davis finished sixth at 53.01.

Sylvan Hills’ Anthony Duncan won the 300-meter intermediate hurdles with a time of 40.66. Cabot’s Mark Odom finished fourth in that event and Beebe’s Logan Archer was seventh.

Odom ran a personal best 11.14 to take second place behind Van Buren’s Caleb Christensen in the 100-meter dash. Duncan took seventh in that event and finished eighth in the long jump with a leap of 19-9.

Odom won the 110-meter high hurdles at Cabot last Tuesday, but did not participate in that event at Russellville.

Three days after winning the shot put in the Walmart Invitational, Cabot’s Brandon Jones took second in Russellville after Conway’s Austin Norris beat his previous best by almost 10 feet, with a winning throw of 152-feet, 6-inches. Jones threw 142-5.

The Panthers’ 4x800-meter relay team of Jack Moore, Greyson Kaufman, Landon Vaught and Gardner Howze took second behind Conway. Howze also ran a personal best 10:31.57 to finish sixth in the 3,200.

Cabot’s 4x400 team finished a close second behind Bryant. Alley, Vaught, Rocky Burke and Conley Hillegas finished with a time of 3:32.21.

Beebe’s John Paul Savage took sixth and Sylvan Hills’ Nathan Burd seventh in the 1,600. Savage also finished eighth in the 800-meter race.

Burke took third in the pole vault with a jump of 12-6. Cabot’s 4x100-meter relay team of Alex Roberts, Brandon Whitley, Connor Daigle and Hillegas took fourth.

Cabot coach Leon White thinks the boys’ team may end up being a bit stronger than he anticipated at the beginning of the season.

“It’s still kind of hard to say, but we’ve got some guys out we weren’t sure would be coming,” White said. “Today we didn’t have our high jumper Matt Stanley, and Mark Odom didn’t run his best event. And I didn’t think we necessarily had a great day. Gardner Howze is making the biggest improvements right now. No one that scored for us really came all that close to the best they could do. Stuart Nickell had a PR in the 3,200, so he’s getting closer to the points for us.”

On the girls’ side, Sylvan Hills’ Sa’Maya Farmer set a new school record and finished second in the shot put with a toss of 34-6, 20-inches short of the winning throw by Tylee Sysavanh of Springdale, but more than three feet further than her nearest 5A competitor.

In an odd turn of events, Lady Bear Makayla Smith triple jumped the exact same distance as Farmer’s throw to tie the SHHS record and finish second. Her teammate, Erykah Sanders, finished seventh with a jump of 32-6.

“They’re all starting to buy in to what we’re selling,” said Sylvan Hills girls’ coach Grover Garrison. “You’re going to see a lot of growth from our freshmen real soon. They’re all sleepers.”

Smith also finished sixth in the 100-meter hurdles, and ran the second leg of the Lady Bears’ second-place 4x100-meter relay team that included Aliya Hatton, Sanders and O’Shayla Muldrow.

Casey Gore ran a personal best for the Lady Panthers and finished second in the 800 with a time of 2:23.47. Sylvan Hills’ Chloe George took sixth in that event and Gore also finished fifth in the 1,600 with a time of 5:40.30

Cabot’s Samantha Nickell took fourth in the 3,200 with a time of 12:24.47, just three days after running a 13:11.20 in that event at Cabot.

Sylvan Hills will compete Thursday in the Conway Invitational. Cabot is splitting its team on Thursday, with some competing at Conway and some at the Vilonia Relays.