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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Former Lady Tigers Meet At Bison Open in Searcy Former Lady Tigers Meet

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Contributed by Coach John Mackey

The college track schedule for the 2024 season has had its twists and turns. For the second time in a matter of weeks, former Mansfield All-State athletes found themselves in the same location once again competing on opposite teams.

Ouachita Baptist sophomore Darby Jones and UA Rich Mountain freshman Jadelynn Wood cheered each other on in different races at the Bison Open hosted by Harding University in Searcy. The collegiate pair once earned their racing stripes along the track and cross country courses of Mansfield HIgh School. Now, the two are giving their best efforts to their respective universities as they work towards post-secondary degrees.

Between the two, they have navigated track meets this season within the borders of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. It was at nearby meets in Conway and Searcy the former Lady Tigers crossed paths and got a chance to catch up.

“The race went pretty well,” explained Jones in a message describing her April 6 trip to Searcy. “I got boxed in pretty badly at the start but ran a 6:11. Overall, I had a good time and I’m feeling excited for the conference!”

OBU will run their conference meet in Magnolia. The Great American Conference Championships will begin May 2 and continue through May 4.

Wood made an appearance in Waldron on April 4 prior to her trip to Searcy. She and her coach, Samantha Shores, were there in part to scout local talent participating at the Gaile Hainley Senior High Relays. As Wood’s younger sister Laney was in attendance competing for the Mansfield Lady Tigers, the trip made an extra incentive.

Traveling east a few days later, the older Wood ran the 800m run at the Bison Open. Her finish for the two lap race on Harding’s all-weather surface was recorded at 2:43.07. The time was 8 seconds faster than her first race of the season but short of her 2:34.20 personal best set at the Richard Martin Invitational at UCA.

“The race wasn’t that good today,” noted Wood on her latest track result. “I may have gone out too fast on my first lap.”

Wood acknowledged that her junior college doesn’t have a conference meet. According to her, that leaves little time before finals and the end of the semester to make another big splash.

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Tammy Teague
Tammy Teague
Tammy is the heart behind the brand. Her tenacity to curate authentic journalism, supported by a genuine heart is one her many wholesome qualities.
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