Pictured: Mansfield senior high participants Darby Jones, Harleigh Mars, Faith Rainwater, Jadelynn Wood, and Hope Rainwater share a moment at the Bearcat Relays. The MHS girls took second place in the team standings at the Booneville Track meet.
A week after winter storms covered the area with snow, Mansfield gathered early season track results with trips to Booneville and Van Buren.
Because of the winter white-out and MHS’s highly successful basketball season, the Tigers’ normal track and field roster and preseason preparations were limited. Despite the unusual circumstances affecting the start of the spring sport, Mansfield still forged ahead to post competitive results in meets scheduled for all levels last week.
The Tiger thinclads opened the 2021 season with a road trip to Booneville on Monday, March 1 for junior high action. They returned to Bearcat country over two of the next three days with meets featuring the seventh-grade prep team on March 2 and the senior high squad racing on March 4.
With a handful of athletes, Mansfield’s senior girls went back to back with limited entries at the Van Buren runners only meet on March 5.
The senior girls and junior girls made the most noise with top-three finishes in the team rankings. The boys showed extreme potential especially compared to their new 2A league foes. The seventh-grade girls grabbed two individual trophies while the prep team boys showed flashes of extreme speed.
Mansfield’s senior girls took second place in the team standings with 106 total points. Host Booneville won the outing with 171 behind its full complement of players. Clarksville came calling at third while Ozark, Pottsville, and Lamar sparked the top six.
The Lady Tiger tracksters plugged in where they could as dual sport cheerleaders and basketball players competed at nearby Magazine in the first round of the regional tournament.
Short handed or not, Tiger veterans like Faith and Hope Rainwater, Harleigh Mars, Shelby Cole, and Darby Jones made an impact. Sophomores Alayna Tuner, Madelen Jones, and Jadelynn Wood also came through.
Faith Rainwater scored 20 points with a pair of second-place finishes in the pole vault and 3200m run. She was also anchor leg to the 4x800m relay that won the long-distance cooperative and started the third-place 4x100m team.
Hope Rainwater, Darby Jones, and Wood completed the 4x800m team. Mars, Cole, and Wood finished the makeshift 4x100m squad.
Mars took second in the 300m hurdles after a year off from that race. Madelen Jones won the event after coming over to the track meet after basketball filming obligations. Cole also placed in the hurdles. Hers was a second place mark in the 100m highs.
Wood placed second in the triple jump at 28-10. It was a personal best for the sophomore. Turner was second in the shot put and fourth in the discus by competing as the meet’s earliest thrower. Turner then bused over to the basketball game for cheerleader responsibilities at the regional tournament.
Cassidy Carlton played the back and forth game as well by competing in the long jump, going to the basketball game to cheer, and returning back to the Booneville track to complete the 4x400m relay that took third.
Katlynn Moore and Alyssa James pulled double duty as well with a return from cheer to offer help in the late distance events.
Shawn Brown won the men’s discus throw. He posted the highest mark at 110-0 as the meet’s first thrower. As the only class 2A thrower present, his mark could not be touched by any of the large school competitors that remained.
Brown also placed among the top 8 in the shot put.
Senior Victor Steffan had his best outcome in the high jump for the senior high men’s team. His 5-8 measure was good for second place among the many vertical leapers.
Sophomore Tommy Phang did well in the sprint races and the horizontal jumps. His personal records in the 100m dash, long jump, and 200m dash all scored.
John Branche and Ethan Streets both made strong pushes in the 400m dash. Branche doubled up in the 1600m run as well.
Mansfield’s junior girls tied for third in the team standings with Booneville. Only Russellville and Waldron bettered the junior Lady Tigers. Waldron barely clipped the Tiger claws for the runner-up plaque. Waldron had 94.5 points while Mansfield and Booneville tied at 93 points.
The 4x100m relay team of Daisy Nelson, Carter Whiley, Addie Bowman, and Aaliyah Summers took the team’s highest finish in a running event. The crew squeaked out the narrow victory over a strong field that included Booneville, Pottsville, and Waldron among the field of 10 teams.
Seventh-grader Kaylee Ward dominated the shot put with back-to-back victories over two consecutive nights. The seventh-grader won the junior high contest with a 30-8 toss on Monday. She followed that with another blue ribbon on Tuesday at the seventh grade meet with an even larger throw of 31-7.
Ward actually tied for high point honors in the seventh grade meet at 26 points. Her victories in the shot and discus along with high marks in the high jump, 4x100m, and 4x400m relays pulled off the reward.
Fellow newcomer Daisy Nelson of Mansfield shared the high point plaque with Ward along with a third competitor from Booneville.
Nelson won the seventh grade 100m hurdles at 18.84. She was second at the pole vault (6-6), second in the long jump (12-8.5), and shared the baton with Ward in the same two relays.
Nelson also vaulted in the junior thigh meet for third place and was the lead leg in the junior high 4x100m relay victory.
Laney Wood starred individually for the junior high team with a second-place pole vault of 6-6 and a third-place 1600m run of 6:38.30. Summers was third in the 100m dash. Trinity Triska was fourth in the 800m run. Whiley was fifth and seventh in the high jump and 100m dash respectively.
Addie Bowman and Rachel Johnson scored for the junior team in the hurdles. Raine Hecox, Aidan Fildes, Azlynn Stover, Bowman, Triska, and Wood supported scoring relays.
Kaylie Lowery took fifth in the discus while Ward was second in the junior discus and first in the seventh-grade discus.
Madison Hearron and Chloe Whiley showed flashes in the seventh-grade pole vault and 4x100m relay. Hearron scored in the 100m hurdles and long jump. Mackenzie Robinson went for sixth place among the seventh-grade discus throwers.
Trey Powell and Tyler Turnipseed off the junior high boys’ team and Dawson Robinson and Dominic Shores off the seventh-grade boys’ team placed well in the sprints. Among their class 2A peers, the Tigers looked to be head of the class.
Powell and Turnipseed also placed among the top 8 in the horizontal hops among a field flooded with mostly class 3A jumpers.
Mansfield gave promise of having strong pole vaulters as Peyton Martin, Austin Ruiz, Boston Elmore, Rylan Nichols, and Josiah Fildes all registered marks inside the top 8. Among the vertical leapers, Martin was top Tiger at 9-0 for second place in the junior boys. Nichols won his seventh-grade division at 6-6.
Trey Vaughn and Sammy Sellers were among the top four discus throwers for the ninth grade, Vaughn went 107-0 for third place. Sellers went 102-3 for fourth.
Ruiz also was among the best 800m runners. The eighth-grader ran a 2:30.30 half-mile equivalent. Josiah Fildes was among the top four seventh-grade milers at a time of 6:07.
Mansfield only took a handful of distance racers and 300m hurdle participants to Van Buren for the senior girls at the end of the week. The very cold and very windy meet was looked at as another practice opportunity for the team.