Friday, May 05, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Bears win Class 5A title

Leader sports editor

Three straight conference championships were good, but the fourth-straight in 2017 wasn’t going to satisfy the Sylvan Hills girls’ track team. The goal this year was a state title, and on Tuesday in Harrison, that goal was met.

The Lady Bears failed to get the right people registered for the 4x100, and didn’t get all the points it was expecting in other events, but were still so dominant, that they beat second place by 26 points.

Sylvan Hills finished 101 team points to Magnolia’s 75. Maumelle finished third with 66. Parkview was fourth with 53.5 and Vilonia’s 52.5 rounded out the top five of 32 5A teams.

About his team’s fourth-straight conference title it won the week before, Sylvan Hills coach Grover Garrison said, “They’re all basically the same until you win the state title.”

After accomplishing it, he reflected on how his team reached that achievement.

“It was just a lot of hard work,” said Garrison. “We started in August, which is way earlier than most teams start. I started seeing a change in the girls this year. It went from coach making them get out there, to them wanting to be out there. They were pretty focused all year long, and they were able to reach their goal.”

Even though the team had mathematically won the state championship well before the final event, 800-meter runner Dallyn Smith, one of only three seniors on the team to score points in the state meet, wouldn’t celebrate until final results were announced.

“They (teammates) were saying that we won probably right before the 200, but I didn’t believe it until I heard our named called,” said Smith. “It felt amazing.”

Sylvan Hills only won one event. It was the last event, the 4x400-meter relay, and it only served to distance the team from the field. Jordan Sanders, O’Shayla Muldrow, Daviunia Jones and Aliya Hatton didn’t run their best time, but still beat second-place Alma by more than two seconds with a time of 4:09.26.

The Lady Bears have run the fastest 4x100 relay in the state this year for any classification, but that team did not get to run on Tuesday. They ran a different team in the qualifying round, and failed to get the usual runners registered for the finals. That meant the team that ran prelims would also have to run in the finals. That team finished fourth, which was the difference between a likely 10 points for a win, and five points for fourth place.

Sophomore Mia Heard, who has been the team’s top 100-meter dash runner all season, was one of those left off the 4x100 relay team, and she admits to not taking the news well.

“I had an emotional breakdown,” Heard said. “I cried, I did. For one I wanted to be on the team because we had worked so hard on it all year and had so much success. Also because I knew this was state, and every point counts. But they did good. We didn’t win it, but they ran a good time and got some points.”

Makayla Smith, Chanel Miller, Alexis Lee and Hatton ran the 4x100 relay.

Dasia Harris got three of those lost points back by placing sixth in the pole vault, something not counted on by Garrison going into the meet.

Heard finished second in the long jump and third in the triple jump, but the 5A-Central 100-meter dash champion was beaten by Hatton, another sophomore, in that event. Hatton took second while Heard finished sixth.

Smith also placed sixth in the triple jump.

Muldrow, another sophomore, finished second in the 200-meter dash and the 400. Heard was sixth in the 200 as well, and Jones finished sixth for three points in the 400.

Junior Jayla Bell finished third in the discus while Sierra Towles took fifth in that event. Stubbs finished fourth in the 800.

Miller, Smith and Erykah Sanders finished sixth, seventh and eighth in the 300-meter hurdles, while Sanders was also eighth in the 100-meter hurdles.

The 4x800 relay team of senior Allysia Marbley, Stubbs, Jones and Jordan Sanders finished fifth. Makaila Murphy and Dasia Harris were seventh and eighth in the high jump to round out the scoring.