Mansfield seventh grade 4x400m relay winners Adeline Bray, Abby Smith, Rylan Jones, and Lilly Young celebrate with a handful of ribbons from Ozark Ribbon Run.
The first track meet of the season is hectic. A “three ring circus” of sorts, more questions than answers typically surround the proceedings especially for seventh grade runners. So was the going when Mansfield took a small clan of thinclads to the Ozark Ribbon Run on March 6.
Blessed with their own track on which to practice, all was not completely new to the Tigers and Lady Tigers as they traveled to the first meet to start the 2023 campaign. Seasoned with only a few weeks of practice, the rookie runners, jumpers, and throwers found out much about themselves and their team.
What was learned was Mansfield has some pieces that can compete. Ribbon after ribbon found its way into Tiger claws. The 17 events moved along in rapid fashion as MHS took home its fair share of ribbon rewards against five competing schools.
Newcomer Abby Smith showed out by winning five blue ribbons. The first time track athlete won the pole vault, long jump, 100m hurdles, 300m hurdles, and was part of the first place 4x400m relay team.
“Abby has some natural track abilities,” said longtime Mansfield coach John Mackey. “She is pretty good at several events. The task is to develop that talent so she and the team can maximize success.”
Hunter Whittaker was impressive for the men’s team. The All-District cross country runner, blazed the field in the 800m run stretching out a huge lead and maintaining it for the win. Showing a versatile skill set, the team’s leading scorer also won the triple jump.
“Hunter is built for track and field,” offered Mackey. “He has the frame to be a really good distance runner, and he has the hops to develop into a solid jumper.”
Adeline Bray, Lilly Young, and Rylan Jones joined Smith on the winning 4x400m relay team. Already adorned with earlier rewards, each dug deep to insure the concluding race would end with another blue ribbon.
Bray specialized in the triple jump and 800m run to go along with a pair of relays. Jones covered the distance events and made good use of the 100m hurdles for extra spoils. Young surprised in the long jump and high jump as well as her two sprint relays.
Payton Meyers went with a conservative schedule of events but grew that list as confidence and talent took over. The sprinter and jumper saw high marks in the pole vault, high jump, and sprint relay.
Miley Clopton added value in three sprint races and three jump events. Her second place ribbon in the 100m dash was a highlight along with a third place cooperative in the 4x100m relay.
“There are not many runners on the preps team,” announced the coach. “But, there are solid pieces that will fit into the junior high program. Our expectations are always the same regardless of grade level, and that’s to compete for conference championships.”
Addison Howard found her moments competing in the pole vault, long jump, and high jump. She added two race results bringing home top five ribbons in both. Next meet she will move forward in the shot put competition.
Aubree Helms, Bailey Quick, Kerrington Quick, and Alivia Wilson all found high placements in their respective field event throws. Wilson was the Lady Tigers top discus performer while Helms led the pack at the shot put ring.
Clayton Garrison was the Mansfield men’s top shot put athlete at 29-5. He was also the second best discus performer on the night with a 72-0 toss.
Michael Carter and Kingston Hawkins joined the discus competition and shot put. Each carried home a top five ribbon for their efforts.
Treven Hattabugh, Drake Brunson, Matthew Knight and Whittaker manned the Tiger’s 4x100m relay team. The group finished in fourth place as did the team’s 4x400m relay. Gabe Baker joined that unit along with Hattabaugh, Knight, and Whittaker.
Clayton Pruitt took home a 110m hurdle ribbon and a 200m dash marker.
Brunson was involved in the sprint events as well as the long jump. Baker competed in three races to round out the Tiger scoring.