Pictured: Mansfield junior high boys and girls celebrate the dual track and field championships the teams won on April 20 in Acorn
Mansfield ordered two scoops that would survive the harsh frigid winds blasting an unusually cold spring day in Acorn. The flavor of the day was the sweet taste of a conference championship. Behind distinctly different attacks, both the Tigers and Lady Tigers took on the 2A-4 junior high track and field conference for a pair of district championships.
The Mansfield women won 14 of 18 events in route to a runaway victory. The Mansfield men bobbed and weaved landing a series of body blows to outpoint their opponents. The results saw the two local teams accumulate 281 and 185 points respectively to take the wins.
Fourteen of 19 competing Lady Tigers finished in the top two places at the conference meet to earn All-District honors. Doing so was freshman Raine Hecox, eighth-graders Alyssa Black, Addison Bowman, Presley Curry, Meghan Emery, Shelbie Fuller, Kaylie Lowery, Azlynn Stover, Aaliyah Summers, Trinity Triska, Carter Whiley, Laney Wood, and seventh graders Daisy Nelson and Kaylee Ward.
“The morning started off with mild temperatures and a slight breeze,” confessed Mansfield coach John Mackey. “By late afternoon the temperature dropped over twenty degrees with high cutting winds. Our kids held strong and performed near perfection. The shine of that first place trophy really warmed it up. It’s incredible how many of our players were at the top of their game.”
The Tiger men won only seven events but kept the pressure on with multiple places in nearly every event. Through the thick of things, twelve individuals finished in the top two for All-District credentials.
Peyton Martin and Sammy Sellers were the lone freshmen securing such distinction. Cisco Fildes, Trey Powell, Austin Ruiz, and Toby Towe made the list from the Tiger eighth grade roster. Joseph Carter, Josiah Fildes, Jonah Martin, Rylan Nichols, Dawson Robinson, and Dominic Shores finished top two from the seventh-grade team.
“It was a good day to be a Tiger,” said men’s coach Mark Tolton. “The boys really wanted to win and broke free of a really close race with Magazine.”
The final tally in the boys’ division ended with Mansfield on top of Magazine 185 to 154.5. The Tigers were nursing a slim 16 point lead with a couple of events to go. Then the determined crew broke loose with 18 big points from the 200m dash. Powell and Robinson went one-two in that sprint race to put the team championship in the bag.
Manfield’s girls had less drama surrounding their title bout. Their depth-filled roster not only managed win after win, but they crossed in waves as well to outpoint the nearest contender by 87 points.
That second-place pretender, the Acorn Tigers, came the closest behind their high point winner Harlei McCourtney. The Acorn freshman cracked 56 points with five outright victories and one third place medal.
“We dominated in a bunch of areas,” noted Mackey. “But what was important was when we didn’t win we covered them up with multiple top eight place holders.”
Mansfield’s Triska, Woods, Bowman, and Nelson countered with gold medal victories through the middle distance or hurdle events. The four laid the foundation for nearly all the team’s relays as well.
Whiley, Summers, Presley, Stover, Fuller, Emery, Black, and Hecox were the other baton passing patrons plastered within the foundations.
Lowery and Ward won the throwing events for the girls. Lowery hit a season-best 80’ 9” in the discus for the gold. Ward amazed once again in the shot with a 35’ 7” blast for another first-place award.
Cisco Fildes won the men’s discus by an inch. Sellers took the shot put by 6.5 inches.
Ruiz, Martin, Boston Elmore, and Josiah Fildes dominated the pole vault in the men’s vertical event. Woods, Nelson, Triska, and Madison Hearron swept the women’s vault for Mansfield.
Martin, Carter, Nichols, and Josiah Fildes took the gold in the men’s 4x800m relay. It was a remarkable feat for a team composed of all seventh graders.
With the track and field district title, the Mansfield junior high girls did something that school officials aren’t sure has been done before in recent history. The core group of junior high players won league championships in every sport this school year. Those titles included sweeps in cross country, volleyball, basketball, and track.