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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Jr Tigers Collect Medals and Honey Buns

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Mansfield’s junior high track trip to Mena on March 12 was a memorable one in many ways. Twenty-three medals, 40 ribbons, 16 honey buns, 1 school record, and a runner-up trophy all found their way into Tiger paws. Yes, it was a memorable night.Mansfield’s athletes attended the first junior high school track meet hosted by Mena in over ten years. With the Bearcat facilities being refurbished this season after a decade of decay, it proved fertile hunting grounds for the Tigers.

Lady Tiger Skylynn Harris pounced on the shot put competition with a Mansfield school record. The eighth-grader broke her own mark from a year ago with an astonishing 41’ 10” toss of the six-pound shot. The shot put judge had been marking throws ranging from 20 feet to the second best measure of the day at 34’ 8”. Harris put the judge on high alert as her hefty heaves nearly took out unsuspecting field event workers.

Skylynn Harris sets another shot put record

Consecutive tosses of 37’ 11” and 41’ 2” by Harris prompted meet spotters to back up. Finally in position, they were ready when Harris hit the extra-large dinger to break the MJH record. The winning shot put was just the beginning of a feel-good night for the Tiger women and men. Collectively, the group posted 17 top three places prompting a haul of 23 individual or team medals. They also collected a bag full of ribbons over 20 other events.

One of the night’s highlights, however, was a non-scoring event partnering throwers only in a “honey bun” relay race. Mansfield rolled out throwing specialists Shawn Brown, Levi Cothran, Zayne Dugan, and Shaddon Moore for a 4x100m relay made up of “big boys” only. With a start to finish punctuation mark, the quad squad of beef blistered the single lap course in 59.70 seconds for the win and 2 boxes of honey buns.

Levi Cothran, Shawn Brown, Zayne Dugan, and Shaddon Moore enjoy the spoils of their “Honey Bun” race

“This was our first ever honey bun win that I can remember,” said longtime Mansfield mentor John Mackey. “I’ve enjoyed many memorable occasions over the years, but this was one of the finest or funniest. I’m not sure which.” Despite his honey bun heroics, Dugan was the top performer for the Tiger men through his normal events. The 6’ 4” ninth-grader produced 18 points for the team with a pair of second place medals. Both came through the throwing events.

At the discus ring, the part time baseball player sent the 1kg implement 113’ 3”. Over at the shot, he pushed the 4kg ball 39’ 11”. Each measure garnered silver medals and eight points apiece.

Madelen Jones joined Harris as one of two gold medalists from Mansfield. Jones was the Lady Tiger top scorer with 28 points. The eighth-grader placed in five different disciplines. She won the 100m hurdles in 18.16 seconds. She was second in the 300m hurdles at 54.41. She was third in the long jump at 14’, sixth in the high jump at 4’ 4”, and fifth in the 4x100m relay.

Sadie Roberts was the second leading scorer for the Mansfield women with 24 points. Those included an individual second place in the high jump at 4’ 8”, third place in the pole vault at 6’ 6”, fourth in the long jump at 13’ 8”, and fifth in the triple jump at 28’ 0.5”. Roberts also ran the third leg in the women’s 4x100m relay. That fifth place partnership included Kinley Hanfelder, Alexis Rivera, and Jones.

Pole Vaulters Ashton Hinkle, Sadie Roberts, and Steven Perez

On the men’s team, Steven Perez had a busy night for Mansfield as well. The ninth grader offered up a personal record in the pole vault at 9’ 6”. That was good for second place. He anchored a fifth-place 4x800m relay and ran second leg on the fourth-place 4x400m relay. Perez also completed the Tigers’ third-place 4x100m relay in an impromptu role. An injury and an illness to two different Tiger sprinters necessitated the middle distance runner’s move to the sprint team.

The 4x100m combination of Perez, Gage Rogers, Tommy Phang, and Dru Buckner executed the one-lap sprint exchange in 53.30 for third place. Natalie Allison, Olivia Bouse, Buckner, McKenzie Griffin, Harris, and Faith Rainwater gained silver medals like Jones, Perez, and Roberts did earlier in the meet. The combination of Allison, Griffin, Bouse, and Rainwater posted a terrific time of 11:49.46 for the silver award in the 4x800m relay.

Buckner stormed over the 300m hurdles in 48.81 for the silver reward. It was his first attempt this season at that race. Brooklyn Adams, Shawn Brown, and Harleigh Mars collected bronze medals as Phang, Rogers, Buckner, Jones, Perez, and Roberts did earlier as well. Adams went 68’ 10” in the discus for her third place reward. It was her second scoring attempt in as many meets.

Brown established a new personal record in the discus at 104’ 1” for the first of two third place accolades. His other came from a 37’ 5.5” shot put throw. Mars moved efficiently in the 300m hurdles for the first time since winning the district championship as a seventh grader in the same event. Her third place time of 55.02 was a welcome site to the Tiger freshman who had to sit out all of her eighth grade year with injury.

John Branche, Zac Desormeaux, Mikeal Harrison, Ashton Hinkle, and Tyler Turnipseed all scored in their respective events for the Tiger men. Cassidy Carlton, Shelby Cole, Magean Newman, Hope Rainwater, Seven Sanderson, Kynslee Ward, and Jadelynn Wood all placed among the top eight performers in their races or field events for the Lady Tigers.

Skylynn Harris and Zayne Dugan

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