Tuesday, April 26, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Freshmen highlight track meet

Leader sports editor

Freshmen ruled the day for local track teams last Friday in the Heber Springs Last Chance Relays.

Cabot teams garnered top-10 finishes, though few teams in the event were entering their athletes in their best events. As the name of the meet indicates, it’s a last chance for athletes to turn in state-qualifying performances before postseason conference and state meets begin.

That means many of the best athletes in a given event do not participate in the events they’ve already qualified for, instead going for qualifying times and distances in other events, and leaving room for teammates to qualify in events they would otherwise fill a spot for.

One highlight for local teams in the meet was the Sylvan Hills girls’ 4x400-meter relay team. Consisting entirely of freshmen, the Lady Bears bursted onto the scene with a great time the previous week in the Battle for the Border meet in Memphis. On Friday, the team of Ashley Jefferson, O’Shayla Muldrow, Daveiunna Jones and Aliya Hatton won the event with a time of 4:13.04, beating Vilonia by .98 seconds and everyone else by at least six seconds.

It was the fastest time run by a 5A team this season. Vilonia’s time was the second fastest.

“That little group of freshmen, the jitterbugs I call them, has been a big surprise,” said SHHS coach Grover Garrison. “But they’ve worked hard. All these girls have worked very hard all year long.”

Cabot freshman Lauren Turner ran her first varsity meet at Heber and won the 300-meter intermediate hurdles. Her time of 46.74 beat Forrest City’s Destiney Summers by more than two seconds. Turner also finished fourth in the 200-meter dash with a time of 27.27. Muldrow placed sixth in that event for the Lady Bears and Hatton was eighth.

Jacksonville also got a surprise performance from a freshman on Friday. Sprinter Orion Turner finished sixth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.3. Forrest City’s Leon Smith won the event with a 10.91, only the third time this year by anyone under 11 seconds.

Jacksonville’s Terry Brown edged out Cabot’s Brandon Jones to win the discus with a throw of 134-10. Jones threw 131-10 for second place.

Rocky Burke of Cabot cleared 13-6 in the pole vault for fourth place.

Beebe’s Connor Patrom was the first non-Forrest City Mustang to cross the finish line in the 200-meter dash. He took third behind Smith and Kendrell Johnson with a time of 22.77. Cabot’s Britton Alley was fifth in that event while Trip Smith of Beebe finished eighth.

Cabot girls took second in the 4x800 relay while Beebe was fourth in that event.