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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Jr Lady Tigers Find Their Way At Van Buren Relays

Pictured is Daisy Nelson and Rachel Johnson

Mansfield juggled its track lineup at Van Buren in search of depth on the junior girls’ roster. The results were mixed as the squad concentrated more on its reserves and field event specialists.

The Lady Tigers took fourth out of 13 scoring schools in the team standings. The crew tallied 80 points landing them behind champion Russellville (172.5), Chaffin (99), and Waldron (95).

“To be honest, the overall team standings weren’t really on tonight’s agenda,” said Coach John Mackey about his team’s trip to the Junior Pointer Relays on March 15. “We gave some of our troops a chance to concentrate on their specialty events instead of maxing them out tonight. It also gave some of our other athletes a chance in some new areas as well.”

Kaylie Lowery

A sampling of the altered states saw Mansfield mainstays Trinity Triska and Laney Wood take the early races off. Typically the pair of eighth-graders would drive the distance races and anchor the final two legs of the 4x800m relay.

“Van Buren always runs the distance relay within fifteen minutes of the start of the meet,” confirmed the Mansfield coach. “We just didn’t want them pulled away from the pole vault and horizontal jumps to go race long distance. It’s tough to recover and do anything close to your best.”

The goal was good for the pair as increased productivity was found in the triple jump. Wood moved her horizontal hop to 29-7.5 while Triska stretched her mark to 29-0.75.

Triska also saw gains in the pole vault with the extra early meet rest. The all-around athlete picked up third place with a 6-6 clearance. Wood followed in fourth a 6-0.

Trinity Triska and Laney Wood

Seventh-grader Kaylee Ward continued her growth in three areas. The rookie Tiger upped her marks in the shot put (34-7.5), discus (81-5), and high jump (4-5). All three measures were personal bests but just shy of her usual blue ribbon status.

“You can never be disappointed with personal records,” reflected Mackey. “Kaylee is really coachable and learning each meet out. She threw numbers that would normally win titles. It’s just tonight those monster marks were a little short of big school numbers produced by experienced freshmen.”

Ward was still second in the discus. She was third in the shot behind two Russellville veterans. She was third in the high jump.

Kaylee Ward

Mansfield’s 4x100m relay looked to be a lock for first place. That was before a speed burner from Chaffin scorched the field with an amazing anchor leg. Mansfield was caught before the tape but still completed the one-lap cooperative in a solid 56.49.

The lineup of Daisy Nelson, Carter Whiley, Addie Bowman, and Aaliyah Summers populated the sprint team.

Nelson, another seventh-grader, scored fourth in the 100m hurdles and sixth in the 200m dash. Whiley was seventh in the 100m dash. Summers took eighth in the long jump. Bowman was third in the 300m hurdles.

Kaylie Lowery placed seventh in the discus. Rachel Johnson set a PR in the 100m hurdles at 18.73  for another score. 

Aidan Fildes

Aidan Fildes, Meghan Emery, and Shelbie Fuller joined Johnson in the scoring 4x200m relay. Alyssa Black teamed with Emery, Triska, and Wood for points in the 4×400.

Azlynn Stover, Raine Hecox, and Summer Frazier followed Black to complete the 4x800m team.

Addie Bowman
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