Mansfield’s Seven Sanderson took the 2022 track season to the limit. By winning the class 2A state discus event, the Lady Tiger athlete represented the high school track team at the prestigious Meet of Champions in Russellville on May 11.
For the second consecutive year a Mansfield discus thrower won the individual state title. Having studied with former teammate Brooke Wright, the 2021 discus champ, Sanderson made the elite level MOC in her junior season.
“Seven had all the tools,” described Mansfield head coach John Mackey. “This year we needed her to step up in a big way, and she did. She practiced with Brooke (Wright) for the last few seasons and this year during spring break. Those rehearsed habits really clicked in these finals weeks as Seven became the champ.”
According to her coach, Sanderson gained much confidence with an individual state championship in the shot put at the ATCA Indoor Track Finals in February.
“Seven worked extremely hard through the winter,” announced Mackey. “She found time during off hours and around basketball practice to perfect her shot technique. That gave her the necessary reps to make a big throw in Fayetteville for her first state title. As soon as basketball was over she went to work on the discus for another opportunity and another state title. It worked out well.”
Sanderson took the 2A outdoor track title in the discus with a career best 100 feet even throw. That came on May 3 at the Quitman hosted state championships in a back and forth battle with Jailynn Sims of Magazine.
Sims won the 2A Region 4 conference championship a week earlier to punch her ticket to the state finals. At that district meet, Sanderson admittedly held back due to the fact she had already pre-qualified to state. It would also open the door for current teammate Brooklyn Adams to slide into second place earning the automatic advancer pass to the state.
No holds barred as Sanderson put in her best effort at the state finals. Having training partner Adams alongside seemed to give both security in numbers. The Lady Tiger throwers each had great days offering up their respective personal bests on the day.
Adams finished seventh in the finals at the state meet with a discus toss of 89’ 1”. Sims climbed to second place with a personal best of her own at 99’ 1”.
Sanderson’s 100 foot distance put her into a whole new classification of throwers and advanced her to what amounts to the All-Star meet of track and field. At the meet of champs one week later, Sanderson saw every discus thrower there owning credentials of 100 feet or better.
“It was pretty intimidating to say the least,” offered Mackey. “You could tell in warmups that most of the girls that advanced were nervous. It’s a little different having a familiarity with district and state competition. At the meet of champs you’re facing the unknown with elite talents from all classifications. You’re talking six state champs and the next 10 best throwers in all of Arkansas.”
Sanderson was the first competitor in the field of 16 at the MOC. Her top toss out of six attempts was only her second best career mark. Her 98’ 8” measured distance placed her 13th among all participants.
“I was proud of Seven for holding her own,” expressed the coach. “She was steady and threw one of her best marks all season. Others in the field came way down in their numbers. You could see the pressure weighing down some of the other throwers.”
With the completion of the Arkansas Activities Association Meet of Champs, this year’s track season ends for Sanderson. For the record the 2022 season brought the homeschool product the outdoor state championship in discus, the indoor state championship in shot put, and the second place distance in outdoor state shot.
Upon the MHS thrower’s season exit, it was clear that the soon to be senior was setting her sights on next year’s premiere track events. Her recent success seemed to wet her appetite for more. Already discussions have revolved around offseason weight training, and plans to get summer reps with last year’s state champ, Wright, to refine the full spin technique.