Friday, April 15, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Badgers win final two for top spot

Leader sports editor

A fantastic finish and a state record falling highlighted an exciting Beebe Badger Relays on Tuesday at Bro Erwin Stadium.

The Beebe boys’ track team trailed Cabot 95-83 with two events remaining, but after Beebe’s Gus McCoy won the 3,200-meter race and Sean Langley finished fourth, the Badgers trailed just 98-87 going into the final event, the 4x400-meter relay. Cabot’s Ben Hicks was sixth for the Panthers’ three points in the event.

Cabot had the best seedtime by six seconds in the relay, but didn’t enter its fastest team and had a bad race to finish sixth.

The Badgers’ team of John Carter, John Paul Savage, Connor Patrom and Keishun Davidson won the event and the Badgers won the meet, outscoring the Panthers 107-101 for first place.

“I’d say that’s a pretty good win for us,” said Beebe boys’ track coach Mark Pinkerton. “It was the first meet where we had everybody and we were able to put a pretty good lineup together. I know Cabot didn’t put all their best guys in all their best events. We do that sometimes trying to get some others qualified for state or just giving guys a chance to see what they can do. But still I thought we had a strong meet. We have some guys that are really coming on strong for us.”

Jacksonville Lighthouse finished 15th out of 23 schools, but senior sprinter Jordan McNair continued his impressive career by breaking his own Class 1A record in the 100-meter dash, running an 11.00 to win the event and break the old record he set at the 1A state meet last year of 11.08.

“I’m not totally satisfied with that race,” said McNair. “I didn’t feel like I got off the blocks like I should have. I finished strong, though. There were some fast guys in the race pushing me, and that always helps. It feels good to break the record again.”

McNair wasn’t the only one in the race with a blazing time. McNair won the race with a longer lean than the shorter Logan Penn of Hazen, who finished in 11.01. Dardanelle’s Chris Kershner was third and McNair’s teammate Robert Whitfield finished fourth with an 11.20.

“We felt like, going in, it was a good day to break a record,” said Lighthouse coach Kelvin Parker. “We knew he’d have to run one of his best times to beat the kid from Hazen, so we were expecting a fast race and thought he might get it.”

Beebe’s Trip Smith finished sixth with a personal record of 11.34, and drew praise from Pinkerton.

“He’s having a phenomenal season,” Pinkerton said of Smith. “He’s lost about 15 or 20 pounds and he’s getting faster and faster with every meet.”

Smith won the 300-meter hurdles with a personal record 42.32, beating Des Arc’s Dillon Conway and teammate Logan Archer, who were second and third respectively. Connor Daigle of Cabot was sixth.

Patrom edged out McNair in an exciting 200-meter dash. Patrom’s time of 22.85 beat McNair by a mere .03 seconds. Cabot’s Britton Alley and Whitfield were right there with the leaders, each finishing under 23 seconds at 22.90 and 22.98.

Cabot almost swept the jumping events, winning the high jump, long jump and pole vault, and taking second in the triple jump. Jarrod Barnes didn’t quite reach his school record-breaking jump of 22-feet he reached last week, but still won the event with a leap of 21-2. McNair took fourth at 19-2 and Jacksonville High’s Marcus Casey was seventh with a leap of 18-8. Barnes also finished second behind Conway in the triple jump. Conway went 43-6 and Barnes 42-7.

Rocky Burke won the pole vault, going 12-6 while Beebe’s Isaiah Hutson jumped 10-6 to finish fifth.

Cabot’s Matt Stanley won the high jump, matching his personal record of 6-5 on his last attempt. He and Bald Knob’s Mark Byers were the last two standing after each cleared 6-4 on their first attempts, but Byers was unable to clear the 6-5 mark.

Cabot’s Brandon Jones won the discus throw at 140-8, while teammate Mark Odom was third with a toss of 120-10. Jacksonville’s Terry Brown was fifth in that event and Beebe’s Reese Anders took sixth.

Cabot’s team of Barnes, Connor Daigle, Alex Roberts and Hillegas won the 4x100-meter relay with a time of 44.36 while Beebe took third and Lighthouse fifth. The Wolves had high hopes for the event but fell behind with a bad handoff on the first exchange.

Hillegas won the 400-meter dash while Davidson was third for Beebe and Landon Vaught of Cabot took fifth.

Smith took second behind Conway in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 16.41 and Patrom was sixth. Alley finished fourth and Whitfield fifth for Lighthouse.

Before winning the crucial 3,200, McCoy took third in the 1,600.

Beebe finished second in the 4x800-meter relay.

Abundant Life’s Daniel Carrell won the 800-meter race by less than a second with a time of 2:08.88. Savage was third for Beebe and teammate Logan Brown was fifth.

Jacksonville’s Malcolm Nelson was between them in fourth place with a time of 2:13.02.