In the outdoor game, the number of events increase and the number of participants typically decrease. So it was for Mansfield as they took a portion of their high school track team to the Quitman hosted state track meet on May 3.
Despite the differences compared to indoor track, Mansfield was quite competitive. Although not the same result as winning the class 1A-2A state indoor title in February, the Lady Tigers finished a very respectable fourth in the class 2A state outdoor championships.
Powered by 15 All-District players, Mansfield picked up 65.5 for their top five team finish. The steady production of points by the MHS senior girls put them in the hunt but wasn’t enough to get them to the big prize.
Yellville-Summit, the defending state champs, had enough experience and depth to reach the day’s number one spot. The Panthers put up 103.5 points to claim the state title. Bigelow came in second with 82 points while Melbourne closed with 75 points for third.
“You have to qualify to outdoor state rather than take your whole team like in indoor,” noted Mansfield head coach John Mackey. “We had a pretty good squad assembled for tonight’s state championships but the depth and points just weren’t enough.”
What Mansfield did have was All-State credentials in the form of Seven Sanderson, Faith Rainwater, Trinity Triska, Laney Wood, and Jadelynn Wood. The five posted high enough marks to give the team its largest boost.
“Seven was determined and confident,” expressed Mackey. “She set two personal records by winning the discus with a 100 foot even throw and taking second in the shot with a throw of 32’ 10.7”. Her 18 points put us into contention right away. She’s our only Meet of Champions qualifier.”
The other four Lady Tigers teamed up to take second place in the women’s 4x400m relay. Because of their second place finish, the entire relay squad earned AAA All-State honors.
“Faith (Rainwater) gave us a fast start in the four by four,” said the Mansfield mentor. “The lead went back and forth from there between us and Yellville. Jadelynn (Wood) regained the lead as the anchor through the first 300 meters but she just ran out of gas from a very long day of competition.”
Wood had the longest schedule of any of the Mansfield entries. The team’s recently named Player of theYear qualified to state in 6 events. Two of those she had to run prelims. That put the star track junior in 6 actual races and 2 field events.
Wood produced in 5 of her 6 events. Three amounted to personal records.
Wood broke the 18 second barrier in the 100m hurdles for the first time. Her 17.99 mark was good for fourth place.
She dipped under 51 seconds for the first time in the 300m hurdles for another fourth place. That time was a career best 50.79.
The triple jump was her only event to not score. However, it was her third PR of the day with a lifetime best 31’ 0.5”.
Wood will advance to the state heptathlon on May 18-19 for a two day, seven event individual meet.
Rainwater and Wood also kicked into high gear in the 4x100m relay. Senior Sadie Roberts rounded the back corner as the third leg. Freshman Carter Whiley brought the stick home as the anchor in a season best collective time of 54.27.
“I think we had an opportunity to run even faster but our anchor (Carter Whiley) had to rerun a prelim earlier in the meet,” commented the frustrated coach. “The meet’s timing system failed once all night. It just so happened to be when our 200m girl was in the prelims. She ended up running the race three times. That extra race had to take its toll.”
Manfield saw scoring events for their team pop up like recent rain showers. However, none flooded their team standing like the throws and 4x400m relay.
Rainwater and Laney Wood did combine for two quality places in the pole vault. Brooklyn Adams scored in the discus. Shelby Cole picked up a pair in the 100m hurdles. All of those contributed to the MHS total.
Darby Jones scored in 3 of 4 distance races. Triska was top 8 in the 400m dash while Whiley got two points from her marathon trials in the 200m dash. Roberts and Jadelynn Wood combined for 4 points out of the high jump. McKenzie Griffin joined Triska, Jones and Rainwater in the sixth place 4x800m team. That summed up the Lady Tiger scoring for the day long state meet.
Trey Powell and Tyler Escalante did the bulk of the scoring for the Tiger men. The freshman and senior sprinter respectively placed in some combination of sprint relays, 100m dash, 200m dash, and 300m hurdles.
“The boys worked hard and gave a good account of themselves,” commented Mansfield men’s coach Joshua Brown. “I’m proud of the 12 players that we took for the men’s team. They gave a great effort and represented Mansfield well.”
In the men’s pole vault, the Tigers qualified four jumpers. After one dropped out due to an off the field injury, Mansfield still had 3 players placed in the top 8 standings.
Peyton Martin, Boston Elmore, and Ryan Hayslip went sixth, seventh, and eighth for six team points.
Mansfield scored in both the 4x100m relay and 4x200m relay. The longer of the two races was Mansfield’s best relay finish at fourth place.
John Branche, Tyler Turnipseed, and Axel Ravnsborg along with Powell, Escalante, and Martin rostered those relay combinations.
Sammy Sellers joined the men’s squad as a qualifier in the discus. Hope Rainwater, Raine Hecox, Addie Bowman, and Azlynn Stover made the trip in the women’s 4x200m relay.