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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Rose Blooms Again at Alma Invitational

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Alma, Arkansas is known as the spinach capital of the world. However, it’s this time of year that it seems a Rose blooms the best. Megan Rose (shown above) at Alma after the 3200m run.

For the second consecutive year, Mansfield’s Megan Rose targeted Alma’s track as the place to go for the class 3A state standard to pre-qualify to state in the 3200m run. For the second consecutive year, it was mission accomplished.

So far this season’s lineup as been about getting race reps and getting in shape. To date, Rose has been scheduled for 4 miles of work at every meet thus far. Friday at Alma, the senior athlete and her coach strategized with a reduced load to knock out the state standard.

Sticking mostly to the script with just a little bit of wiggle room, Rose indeed punched her state ticket for a fourth straight season.

The mark Rose needed to undercut was 12:54.06. She crossed the finish line at exactly 12:53.44. That was a mere 0.62 second snap of the finger margin for the senior.

Mansfield mentor John Mackey and his prized pupil discussed the setup before spring break. The afternoon before the bus trip to Alma, they did the per lap math to give Rose her chance.

“Megan was nearly perfect to the target times,” said Mackey. “She went a little fast on the first lap but it gave her a seven second cushion for the next two.”

Rose was gunning for a 6 minute 22 second first mile of the two mile equivalent. She came by interval at 6:23. It was the only time she was slower than projections until the next to last lap in which she fell behind pace by 2 seconds.

Mackey implored his star to give it her all at the 300m mark. He knew she was a bit behind the pace chart they built together to include a 3 second cushion. Her father, Jeff Rose, standing near his usual spot at the final turn begged his baby to keep kicking for the finish.

Attending eyes, especially those with Mansfield interests, all seemingly glowed at the same time with the reflection of the MacDonald’s scoreboard. “4 Rose 12:53.44” beamed along the top edge of the display.

The Southeastern Oklahoma State recruit admitted after the race she was unsure why she continued to kick. She felt she was not going to reach her goal. She said she thought her opportunity was lost on the seventh lap.

“That’s why you continue to fight,” expressed Mackey. “You don’t really know. Megan has always been a fighter. It’s not in her being to give up.”

Overall Rose was fourth in the race. Earlier in the night she came in sixth with a updated best of 6:06.76 in the 1600m run.

Cross country teammate Devon Pyles also on the boys track squad did not pre-qualify but was spectacular to his own standards. The senior distance racer established his new personal record with 5:05.57 run in the 1600m. That was 10 seconds better than his previous performance.

Pyles also exhausted his energy supply with a 15 second betterment of his 3200m run. He went 11:26.54 over the 8 lap race.

For his conference leading times in both races, Pyles received the third and fifth place medals respectively for the two distance races.

Delilah McKusker continued the PR trend with four of her season’s best in the 4x100m relay, 100m hurdles, 300m hurdles, and 4x400m relay.

McKusker was just off the medal stand in a 20.17 clocking over the 100m high hurdles for ninth place. She had the best split as the 4x100m relay anchor at 14.36.

Over the 300m style barriers, McKusker posted a 57.12 for seventh place. She capped the night with another anchor best 1:13 for her leg of the 4x400m relay.

The Tiger men found point production from sprinter ace Jaicy Griffin. Griffin, just a sophomore, was top three in a very competitive 200m dash. His mark of 24.16 was just north of the state standard 23.31. Mansfield’s Jaicy Griffin (below video) long jumps at Alma for a 18 ft 8 inch jump.

Griffin also was close to a AAA standard in the 100m dash. His 11.64 clocking was three-tenths off the 11.34 average.

The young gun made it 4 for 4 in ribbon collections as he also placed high in the long jump (5th – 18’ 8”) and as anchor of the 4x100m relay (6th – 49.68).

Bryar Hattabaugh got some attention over at the long and triple jump pit. The senior, on a rare day off from baseball, leaped 17’ 11.5” in the long jump for seventh place. He was top Tiger at the triple jump with a fourth place bounce of 39’ 5.5”. The below video shows Mansfield’s Bryar Hattabaugh long jumping 17 feet 11.5 inches at the Alma Track meet.

Sophomore Will Meadows moved up in the local pole vault rankings with a season best 9’ 0” jump for 5th place. He saw his triple jump mark of 38’ 0.5” climb to seventh place overall.

Meadows along with Griffin, Jake Smith, and Blaine Bryant peopled the 4x100m team.

Addison Goetz, Lennon Woods, Corrina Wesley, and McKusker comprised the Lady Tiger sprint team. Alyssa Berry moved in for Wesley as the remaining relay girls also ran in the 4x400m relay. The results were fourth and third places respectively.

Miracle Pettigrew picked up a point in the women’s shot put. Jacob Brown was the close  to ribbon production in the men’s discus at tenth place.

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