Friday, April 03, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Panthers set records in victory

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Lady Panthers took first place as host of the Walmart Invitational track meet Tuesday at Panther Stadium, and broke a few more school records in the process. The Cabot ladies scored 123.5 points to beat Bryant by 34.5 points in earning the victory. Parkview High was third with 67, Conway took fourth with 59.5 and Jonesboro rounded out to the top-5 with 42 points. Bryant won the boys’ competition with 126 points, outdistancing second-place Conway by 46. Jonesboro scored 65, Parkview 52 and Marion 46 in the 14-school competition. The Cabot boys finished 11th with 27 points.

Three Lady Panthers combined to win eight of the 15 events in the competition. Lexi Weeks won the pole vault, 100-meter hurdles, 400-meter dash, long jump and was part of the Lady Panthers’ winning 4x100-meter relay team. Micah Huckabee won the 800- and 1,600-meter races while Tori Weeks won the 300-meter hurdles and also ran on the winning relay, along with Danielle McWilliams and Alyssa Hamilton.

That relay team set one of the new school records, almost breaking the 50-second mark and finishing in 50.03. Conway was second and also very fast, finishing in 50.77.

Lexi Weeks fell short of the national record in the pole vault, clearing 13-feet, 7-inches to win by six inches over Tori Weeks, but her height was a new meet record. She has a personal outdoor best of 14-0, a mere 2 3/4 inches short of the national record.

Sheridan junior Sarah Michael and Conway’s Jadah Meyer tied for third with jumps of 11-feet.

Lexi Weeks’ also broke the school record by 1 1/2 inches in winning the long jump. Her 18-4 ½, barely beat Searcy’s Arabriaun Mack’s 18-3. Tori Weeks was third and not far off the school mark with a jump of 18-feet.

In the 100-meter hurdles, Lexi Weeksbeat 100-meter dash winner Jada Baylark of Parkview by .08 seconds with a time of 15.15. She won the 400-meter dash by almost five full seconds, finishing in 58.83 ahead of Da’Juana Mixon of North Little Rock.

Huckabee was able to step off the gas and still win the mile easily. She was heavily favored to win the 3,200 as well, but lightning ended the meet with two events to go, including the 4x400 relay.

Huckabee won the 800-meters by more than eight seconds over Alex Ritchey of Mount St. Mary with a time of 2:22.01. She also won the 1,600 with a 5:33.76, despite that mark being more than 33 seconds slower than her personal best set last week at the Texas Relays in Austin.

“I wanted her to run an easy mile and then go real hard at the school record in the 800,” said Cabot coach Leon White. “I told her to run the first lap of the mile just fast enough to win it, and then hit the 800 hard. She wasn’t quite able to do it, but she came really close.”

Tori Weeks holds the school record in the 800 with a time of 2:21.55, but no longer runs the event in favor of the 300-meter hurdles. Her win Tuesday in the 300 hurdles wasn’t a close race either as she set a new record in that event. She beat Haley Hood of Bryant by two seconds with a time of 45.68.

She also holds the school record in the triple jump, but wasn’t able to get that win on Tuesday, settling for third in the triple jump with a leap of 35-10. Baylark won that event as well bounding 37-1. Allison Weatherly of Conway was second at 36-3.

Cabot’s team of Samantha Nickell, Brayden Giesler, Vanessa Wielding and Haley Gorecke took third in the 4x800 relay.

Caytee Wright took fifth for the Lady Panthers in the discus, sixth in the shot put and seventh in the high jump. McWilliams finished eighth for one point in the 100-meter dash.

In the boys’ events, Braxton Burton and Rocky Burke finished third and fourth in the pole vault with jumps of 12-feet and 11-6 respectively. Junior Brandon Jones took third in the discus with a toss of 137-4.

Sophomore Britton Alley took fifth in the 200-meter dash. Connor Daigle was sixth in the 300-meter hurdles and sophomore Howard Jacob took eighth in the 400.