Pictured: Lady Tigers Katlynn Moore, Faith Rainwater, and Darby Jones accept the runner-up trophy at the Mansfield hosted Senior Tiger Relays
This season the Mansfield Tiger Relays limited the number of teams that could enter. Based upon Covid restrictions outlined by the AAA, Mansfield only invited a little over a dozen teams to compete on any given night. Despite the limitations, the competition was still hot as several meet records, a school record, and three Tigers pre-qualified to state.
Mansfield got what they wanted out of the home meet despite not winning the team title. For the senior high Tigers, the March 30 home meet was the first opportunity to pre-qualify to the State meet through standards.
Skylynn Harris, Brooke Wright, and Bri Sanderson each accomplished the ticket punch to state with big throws at the shot and discus rings.
Wright was the first to qualify by tossing a personal best of 99-3 in the discus. The state standard to enter automatically is 90-2. Wright surpassed the state rate by over nine feet.
Harris was next as she transitioned to the shot put ring. The 2020 indoor state champion in the shot put made a monster throw of 32-03 with the 4kg ball. The mark to beat was 31-11.
This was both Lady Tigers’ first meet of the season as the pair came late to track and field after an ultra-successful basketball season.
Sanderson also scored his early entry to the State competition set for May 5 in Gurdon at the discus ring. His new school record whirl of the discus went 132-8. It bested all other men throwers in the senior high competition by 33 feet 7 inches.
“This is a real strength of our team,” stated long-time Mansfield track coach John Mackey. “We knew going in that these were obtainable marks. It’s good to get them out of the way.”
Mansfield almost knocked out another set of qualifying marks. Makayla Strutton and Danielle Lillie got close to the 100m hurdle measure for early state entry. The pair went one-two for 18 big points in the sprint hurdle race by clocking in at 17.68 and 17.80 respectively.
The standards that a class 2A hurdler must achieve is 17.48.
“Both were close to the standard,” recognized Mackey. “This was their first meet as well after an extended basketball season. We think at least three of our hurdlers can reach standard very soon.”
Four meet records went down in the women’s senior high division. These included the discus (Molly O’Dell, Thaden, 108-08), 4x200m relay (Waldron, 2:00.45), 200m dash (Anna Woosley, Ozark, 26.42), and 1600m run (Chloe Weathers, Clarksville, 5:44.42).
Four meet records went down in the men’s senior high division as well. Those included the 4x200m relay (Waldron, 1:39.60), 1600m run (Justice Neufeld, Acorn, 4:35.57), 300m hurdles (Payton Durning, Ozark, 40.85), and 3200m run (Mathew Dunnsworth, Clarksville, 10:14.99).
Mansfield women worked their way to runner-up status in both the senior high and junior high divisions according to team totals.
The MHS senior high girls tallied 152 points. That was just behind Waldron’s 174.5 points and ahead of 13 other scoring schools.
The Lady Tiger junior high girls accumulated 138.5 points at the April 1 Junior Tiger Relays. That landed just below Waldron’s 141.5 points and ahead of eleven other schools.
The Tiger men finished in third place in both divisions. The senior Tiger team gathered 67 total points on the strengths of a small roster. Waldron took the champion’s plaque with 145 points against a close race with Ozark’s 135 points.
The Mansfield junior boys scored 76.5 points at the April 1 Junior Tiger Relays. Waldron won the men’s meet with 168. Booneville took second with 77.5.
Mansfield’s senior boys were bolstered by Sanderson’s 18 points through the throws. Shawn Brown scored 13, Tommy Phang had 10, and Ryan Hayslip totaled 7 to lead the Tiger scoring.
Trey Powell, a Mansfield eighth-grader, fought for the high point plaque in the junior high boys’ events. He totaled 30 points to lead all Tigers. He was the meet’s third-best individual scorer out of 95 scoring players.
Austin Ruiz and Sammy Sellers both had 8 points for the MJH team.
Mansfield’s senior girls were led by Danielle Lillie with 19.5 points in five events. Makayla Strutton totaled 18.5 events in only three events.
The Lady Tigers had seven total senior high players score in double figures. Along with Lillie and Strutton’s team highs, Faith Rainwater (15.5), Harleigh Mars (14.5), Harris (14), Wright (14), and Madelen Jones (12.5) followed in double-digit points.
For the younger girls, Mansfield’s Daisy Nelson tallied 22 points to become the second-leading scorer for the whole meet. Five of her teammates also scored double figures through their respective events.
Kaylee Ward garnered 18. Trinity Triska took 17.25 as did Aaliyah Summers. Laney Wood walked away with 12.50 while Carter Whiley had 12.
Ward and Nelson also ran in the Seventh Grade Ribbon Run on March 29. The pair of seventh-graders have been scoring for both the junior high team and the MMS prep squad.
Ward specializes in both the shot and discus. Nelson has developed as a top-tier hurdler and pole vaulter.
Dominic Shores, Dawson Robinson, Jonah Martin, Alex Hecox, Joseph Carter, Rylan Nichols, and Joey Fildes have been scoring for both the junior high and seventh grade squads for Mansfield.