Tuesday, April 04, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Bears win as hosts

Leader sports editor

The Sylvan Hills girls won the first-ever Jeff Henderson/Arkansas Army National Guard Relays on Friday at SHHS. Renovations of Bill Blackwood Field included a new track that was put in last year, and Friday marked the first large high school meet the school has hosted.

The Lady Bears scored 165 points to easily outdistance Maumelle’s 102.25. Sheridan was third out of 17 teams in the event.

This year’s Sylvan Hills girls’ squad is the best girls’ track team the Lady Bears have had since winning back-to-back state championships in 2003-04.

This team is eyeing another state title, and found some extra pieces to the puzzle in the throwing events, particularly in the shot-put performance of Chanel Miller. She finished third in her first-ever attempt at competing in the event. Not only that, her distance of 35-feet, 4-inches was good enough to pre-qualify for the state meet. Her teammate, Brae’zah East, finished fourth, beating her previous best by almost five feet with a toss of 33-11. Her previous personal record was 29-01.

Liz Fouts of Harding Academy won the event with a throw of 35-11, and Mills’ Cetra Dale was second at 36-4.

Fouts also won the discus throw, but Sylvan Hills’ Sierra Towles and Jayla Bell were second and third.

The Lady Bears also set the fastest times in the state this year in the 4x400- and 4x400-meter relays. The 4x100 team ran a 49.18, which is less than a second away from the Class 5A state record.

“This was that particular group’s first time ever running together,” said SHHS girls’ track coach Grover Garrison. “We had a little trouble with two of our handoffs, so I think if we can get those things straightened out, we should be able to run a sub-48 with no problem.”

Friday’s 4x100 team consisted of Ayana Harris, Mia Heard, Alexis Lee and Aliya Hatton.

The 4x400 team already held the fastest time in the state coming into the meet, and then shaved another four seconds off that with a 4:08.42. That team also changed, with Daviunia Jones replacing Alexis Lee because Lee had just run the 4x100. Garrison thinks the switch makes both teams better.

“Jones has been out and is still not in top shape,” Garrison said. “She’s slowly but surely getting into shape, and I think we can run even faster in that event as well.”

The rest of the 4x400 team includes Jordan Sanders, O’Shayla Muldrow and Hatton. Muldrow won the 400-meter dash, and did so with the fastest time in 5A this year, 59.84. That’s also just .14 seconds off the fastest time in the state in any classification.

Dallyn Stubbs continued her strong season with a second-place finish in the 800. She ran it with a time of 2:32.41 behind Des Arc’s Alysa Dohm. Ashley Jefferson took fifth in that event.

Those two also helped the Lady Bears dominate the 4x800-meter relay. Despite running 13 seconds slower than their seedtime, the Lady Bear team of Jones, Marbley, Jefferson and Stubbs beat second place by 46 seconds with a time of 10:48.14.

Mia Heard ran a personal record 26.77 to finish third in the 200-meter dash. She also finished fourth in the 100-meter dash. Sheridan’s Carly Strong won both of those events.

Ayana Harris also placed in both events, taking sixth in the 200 and seventh in the 100.

Heard took third in the long jump with a leap of 17-feet, 1/2-inch. Anderson won that event as well with a leap of 17-6.

Makayla Smith took third in the 100-meter hurdles with a personal best time of 16.66. Winner Asia Anderson of Robinson, and second-place Claire Luallen of Maumelle finished in 15.81 and 16.41 respectively.

Smith also finished second behind Anderson in the triple jump. Anderson went 38-3, while Smith cleared 34-6.

Anderson also won the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 47.82, but Sylvan Hills Erykah Sanders and Smith were second and third. Sanders finished in 49.01 and Smith 49.43.

Makaila Murphey and Dasia Harris were two of three athletes to clear 5-feet in the high jump. Sheridan’s Lauren Goodwin got first place for doing it on her first try.

Allysia Marbley placed fourth in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 13:59.63.


Lonoke also had a couple of top performances. Gracie Hyde, who has the state’s best time in 3,200, chose to only compete in the 1,600 on Friday, and won the event with a time of 5:15.36. She beat second-place Victoria Ortega of Maumelle by 30 seconds, and beat her own state championship time last season by 15 seconds.

Her teammate, Keiunna Walker, finished second in the long jump with a leap of 17-2 3/4. She was also third in the triple jump, bounding 34-3.


In the boys’ meet, Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter was the top-finishing local school. Robert Whitfield finished second in the 100- and 200-meter dashes behind blazing sophomore Kennedy Lightner of North Little Rock.

Lightner, who became the first-ever high schooler to break the seven-second mark in the indoor 60-meter dash, ran the 100-meter dash in 10.79 on Friday, while Whitfield ran an 11.12.

Whitfield has also run a sub-11 this season at 10.96, but didn’t approach that on Friday.
He also didn’t meet his PR of 22.22 in the 200, running a 22.82 to Lightner’s 21.65.