Pictured: Mansfield’s Bri Sanderson competes at a recent track meet in the shot put. Sanderson launched a 45-foot toss of the 12-pound ball to move into second place among class 2A throwers
The shortened season got even shorter as the Mansfield Tiger track teams enrolled in their final tuneups before conference play will begin on April 27. The thin clads of Mansfield made their way to Van Buren and Fort Smith Southside this past week for their final regular-season meets.
Enlisting in only partial individual event schedules, both the MHS men and women found a modicum of success. Specifically, two throwers further cemented their pre-qualification standards. One hurdler inched her way towards the top of the state rankings.
Tiger Bri Sanderson scratched another notch on his thrower’s belt at Van Buren on April 19. The 2A-4 District leader pressed the 12 pound shot 45’ 0” into the landing sector to meet the pre-qualification standard to state.
Class 2A shot put throwers must equal the latest five-year average of the third-place state mark to gain early admission into the state meet. Sanderson surpassed that 43’ 11” mark easily with his 45-foot heave.
To date, Sanderson has pre-qualified in both the shot and discus to the May 5 scheduled state meet in Gurdon. The 6’ 4” senior currently ranks number one in Class 2A for the discus at 155’ 6”. He is listed second in the shot by only two inches thanks to the Van Buren production.
Brooke Wright, a senior thrower off the women’s team, hit her personal record in the discus at the Van Buren meet. Matter of fact, the state’s second-ranked discus thrower broke her previous best measurement twice on the night.
Wright went over 100 feet for the first time in her career at Van Buren. She flung the 1kg discus 100’ 10” mark in the first round. She then went 101’ 3” in the finals for her career highwater standard. Both measures solidified her early entry into the state meet by nearly 10 feet.
The list of Mansfield seniors strengthening their resumes continued to grow as the Tigers made the trip to Fort Smith Southside two days later.
Makayla Strutton from the Lady Tiger’s den crafted two of her best times in the hurdles. In the 100m hurdles, she clocked in at 17.55 seconds. In the 300m hurdles, she crossed at 52.99.
Strutton came within 7 hundredths of a second of meeting pre-qualification standards to state in the 100m hurdles. Her new personal record did elevate her state ranking to fourth.
Strutton’s 300m hurdle time moved her to the fifth best player in the state pecking order.
Staying with the 300m hurdle times, Mansfield’s Victor Steffen moved into the top ranks inside the 2A-4 boy’s conference. The senior timed over the 8 barrier race in 48.90. That put him number one within the league by 2.27 seconds.
Sophomore Madelen Jones took her long jump to a new level in Van Buren. The multiple event athlete stretched her horizontal hop to 15’ 10.75”. That pushed her to the fourth-best measure in the class 2A state rankings.
Teammate Danielle Lillie is close behind with a long jump measure of 15’ 3” she achieved at the Gaile Hainley Relays earlier this season. Strutton hit her best long jump at Southside with a 15’ 0” landing.
The horizontal runways saw Lady Tiger Jadelynn Wood move past the 30-foot mark in the triple jump at Van Buren. The sophomore bounded 30’ 5.5” for her PR.
Wood continued a good night in Pointer country by capping a well constructed 4x400m relay team. The combination of Shelby Cole, Lillie, Strutton, and Wood round the 4 lap cooperative in 4:47.03. It was the team’s best output of the season and placed third in the Pointer Relays.
Wood went the fastest as the team’s anchor leg. She came across in 1:09 for her 400m split.
Ryan Hayslip had a good night as well at the Monday meet. The junior who specializes in the pole vault went over 10 feet for the first time to earn sixth place. It also positioned him tied for third in the 2A vaulter’s list.
Hayslip, although not making a recorded bar at the Southside hosted McDonald’s Relays, felt his jumps were even better than his Van Buren vaults.
The crossbar at Fort Smith was set at 11’ 6” for the opening height. Hayslip contended his attempts were at least even with that crossbar height. Consequently, his instincts indicated his vaults may have actually been better than when he cleared a personal best two days earlier.
Mansfield’s best relay for the week was the women’s 4x100m relay. The combination of Faith Rainwater, Jones, Strutton, and Lillie rounded the one lap race in 55.35 for seventh place among all big schools at the McDonald’s Meet.
The team’s Van Buren race was slightly slower at 55.40 but actually finished higher at third among another strong field of large school competitors.
Seven Sanderson picked up fourth-place points early in the week at the shot put ring. The sophomore Lady Tiger threw a season-best 30’ 5.5”.
Rainwater clocked in at 2:45.41 for her season-best in the 800m run this past week. Tommy Phang pushed out a PR in the 100m dash at 12.11 in Van Buren to add to the rising accomplishments of the Tigers.
Mansfield is scheduled to host the 2A Region 4 District Championships on Tuesday, April 27.