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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Senior Serves With Last Tiger Action

Arkansas River Valley Business Directory

Mansfield Senior Corrina Wesley (top row) gives support to sophomore teammates Lennon Woods (Center) and Delilah McKusker at the Cabot hosted heptathlon.

It takes a certain willingness to serve. It’s not an action that comes natural to most people. Those on top rarely want to step down to help others. Stations in life, though not always accurate, seem settled among peers at a young age. Rare is the leader that knows no bounds and is willing to transcend pegs of the pedestal.

According to Mansfield track coach, John Mackey, that’s exactly what senior Corrina Wesley did and always does. She sets her ego aside and gives unconditionally to others. Just recently at the concluding event for track and field participants, Wesley was a willing servant for her teammates, school, and coach.

Corrina Wesley, a 2018 senior who graduated Mansfield High School on May 14, had been a star for most of her still young life. Catalog her accomplishments over the years and you’ll see an extensive list of achievements. Things like salutatorian, Beta Club member, all-star athlete, and award winning cheerleader all dot her resume.

By no means does the above mentioned merits complete the long list of accolades attributed to this recent high school graduate. It does however give affirmation that this University of Central Arkansas Honors College bound student has an elevated station.

That’s the point according to Mackey, a long time teacher-coach at Mansfield High School. By his estimation, he’s seen his fair share of rising stars reach extreme heights but few are also willing to lower themselves and pay it forward.

“Sometimes kids reach a point where they forget who they are and where they come from,” Mackey recalled out loud. “Corrina has been willing to serve since I’ve know her.”

The case that most recently came to light was at this year’s state heptathlon. Wesley who has been a highly decorated All-District track athlete and All-Star cross country runner wanted to represent Mansfield in the heptathlon competition. The problem was so did two others, and only two can compete.

With no real discernible difference in their abilities, Mackey decided to have an in house contest to determine who will be allowed to perform. Wesley, the senior who had already completed her obligated number of school days, and two sophomores still in school went to work.

Delilah McKusker, Lennon Woods, and Wesley who were and still are close friends agreed to the conditions of the competition. The top two scorers would advance to the AAA event while the third place finisher would be the helper and fulfill the needs expected of meet workers.

Wesley arrived independently for days meeting the other two for regular scheduled practices. Despite the burdens of preparing and rehearsing for an upcoming salutatorian speech, arranging for family guests at her graduation, and studying for a final AP exam, she was prompt to the task leading up to the May 16-17 event. 

Not ready to say goodbye to a track career just yet, Wesley competed and competed hard. The demands of learning unfamiliar events in the eleventh hour of her track career proved just a bit to challenging. Wesley fell to third in the two day internal meet but not by much. A hundred points give or take separated the closely contested trio from each other.

“Corrina had been talking about this moment since the beginning of school,” Mackey reflected. “Despite being disappointed, she was still all about team and what she could do to help.”

As agreed, the senior accompanied the band of athletes and her coach for one last two-day road trip to Cabot for the heptathlon/decathlon. Along the way, she advised, carried, coddled, encouraged, motivated, and prayed to the best of her ability for her younger teammates. 

In Cabot, she stepped away from the starting line for the first time in six highly successful seasons to help in other ways besides competing. Her new mission was carrying equipment, escorting the competitors to unfamiliar venues, assisting in the administration of four hours of high jump, and praying at meals for safety, strength, and submissiveness.

“I’ve know Corrina since the sixth grade,” Mackey reminisced. “In that time, I’ve always known her to have a servant’s heart. She’s never been to proud to keep a promise. She will always be family. I’m proud of who and what this Lady Tiger has become.”

At the end of the long 48 hour trip, it was the end of a career for Wesley. The remaining players including the senior servant filed into the Mansfield gym to turn in their uniforms. 

Piece after sweaty piece landed on the floor in a unassuming stack. Perhaps it was just coincidence or maybe it was divine design, but the last cloth to hit the pile was Wesley’s own tear stained school shirt. 

The Lady Tiger released her jersey with unashamed tears streaming down her face. 

Wesley spent a career earning praise on the track and in the classroom. Her list of accomplishments at both places helped her earn a free academic ride to a prestigious honors college. 

However, her real triumph was being a true lady secure enough in her own station to serve others. It was true for two days in Cabot, all those years before Cabot, and most likely many more years after Cabot.

So, on this final day, with this final act, Wesley left on top.

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