5-7A Girls Distance Preview:
A shake-up in the girl's 5-7A distance events could make for an exciting day in Fayetteville on Saturday. 2017 1-4A indoor state champion in the 1600, 3200, and 800, Gracie Hyde, has transferred schools to Benton which brings her into the mix of an already talented returning distance field this year.
Beginning with the 1600, 2017 indoor champion Rebecca Boushelle of Fayetteville will have her hands full this year as she looks to defend her title. Her personal best of 5:04.01 makes her the early favorite over Hyde who has run 5:04.94. Other returning athletes from the 2017 indoor meet include Tori Willis of Bentonville, who placed third in 2017, and Casey Gore of Cabot who placed fourth. Since the 2017 indoor meet, Lainey Quandt of Bentonville, Josie Carson of Lake Hamilton, Anna Jeffcoat of Rogers, and Grace Litzinger of Fayetteville have all run 5:19 or better for the 1600 which will put them in contention for points on Saturday.
Similar to the 3200, Hyde and Boushelle fill out the top two returning marks. Hyde's 11:14 gives her a slight edge of Boushelle who's run 11:20 in the event. 2017 3200 champion, Willis of Bentonville will also be returning this year to defend her title. Other athletes to keep an eye out for on Saturday include Gore of Cabot, fourth in 2017, Quandt and Krista Herlin of Bentonville, Julia Clark of Van Buren, eighth in 2017, and Rachel Allen of Fayetteville. All of these girls have run sub-11:45 for 3200 meters since the 2017 indoor season.
The top four finishers from the 2017 indoor meet in the 800 will be returning to the Tyson Center this weekend. Julianna Dillon of Springdale Har-Ber, third in 2017, holds the top returning mark form the 2017 outdoor season at 2:15.50. She has a slight edge over Cabot's Lauren Turner, second in 2017, whose run 2:15.98. On their heels is the 2017 champion, Lainey Quandt of Bentonville with a personal best of 2:16. 1600 and 3200 favorites, Boushelle and Hyde are coming in ranked fourth and fifth in the event with personal bests of 2:17 and 2:18. Rounding out the field of returners form the 2017 season include Carson of Lake Hamilton and Trinity Walker and Lydia Pehlman of Bentonville. All of these athletes have run under 2:23 over 800 meters which will make for a fast race on Saturday.
5-7A Girls Sprints/ Hurdles Preview:
There's a possibility we will see a state record fall in the 60 meter dash this year. 2017 champion, Carly Strong of Sheridan missed the mark by .26 seconds in last year's race. She will be returning as the favorite to win the event this year and have another shot at rewriting the record books. Top returning scorers from the 2017 meet include Mia Heard of Sylvan Hills (3rd), Raeghan Smithpeters of Har-Ber (5th), Sierra Temple of Maumelle (6th), and Destiney Summer of Forrest City (8th). Other returning athletes to keep an eye out for this year include Grace Posey of Bentonville West, Jazmyn Chenault of Fayetteville, and Alexis Lee of Sylvan Hills.
We will see a new champion in the 200 this year. Four scorers from the 2017 meet will be returning to the track seeking a state championship. These four include Carly Strong of Sheridan (2nd), Tamera Rhode of Russellville (3rd), RaeghanSmithpeters of Har-Ber (4th), and O'shayla Muldrow of Sylvan Hills (8th). Other girls who have posted top marks in the event include Ann Dangha of Hall, Tayonna Wilson of Rogers Heritage, Khanni Shannon of Har-Ber, and Johnaya Givens of Parkview. All of these athletes have run between 25.85 and 26.25 over 200 meters since the 2017 indoor meet which will make for a tight race on Saturday.
The 2017 400 meter champion, Tamera Rhode of Russellville, will be returning to defend her title this year. She ranks third in the event among returners to the 2018 season. Topping the list of 400 marks in 2017, Muldrow of Sylvan Hills, will look to improve on her seventh place finish from 2017. Other top returners in the event include Smithpeters and Annabell Weber of Har-Ber, Zailey Chaffin of Conway, Baylee Barganier of Bentonville, Grace Risenhoover of Rogers, and Carson of Lake Hamilton. All athletes have run 1:00 or faster in the 400 since the 2017 indoor meet.
The top seven finishers from the 2017 meet in the 60 meter hurdles will all be returning to the Tyson Center this weekend. Leading the pack, Audrey Wilson of Rogers, is looking to repeat as indoor state champion. The rest of the field composed of Clair Luallen of Maumelle (2nd), Taylor Conway of Conway (3rd), Ally Swaim of Vilonia (4th), Marta Wolczynska of Alma (5th), Kayla Scott of Bryant (6th), and Deborah Shaw of Bryant (7th) will be looking to improve on their finishes from 2017. Julia Necessary of Rogers fills out the top eight returners in the event.
5-7A Girls Field Event Preview:
In the long jump, the 2017 champion, Mia Heard of Sylvan Hills, will be coming back to defend her state title. She's currently second among returners to the 2018 season. The top mark in the long jump belongs to Johnaya Givens of Parkview at 18-7.5. Other athletes to watch out for in the long jump on Saturday include, third place in 2017, Adriana Kitchen of Fayetteville, Jasmine Benson of Arkansas High, Strong of Sheridan, Luallen of Maumelle, Breauna Moore of Jonesboro, and Maddie Cross of Cabot.
The 2017 state champion in the triple jump will be looking to defend her title in 2018. Adriana Kitchen of Fayetteville leaped 38-8.5 during the 2017 season which would be good enough for an indoor state record if she repeats that performance on Saturday. Other top returners from the 2017 meet include Sydney Suggs of Bentonville (3rd), Avery Hughes of Bentonville (4th), Conway of Conway (5th), and Heard of Sylvan Hills (6th). Givens of Parkview, Rae Smith of Alma, and Lauren Godwin of Sheridan have also jumped marks that could contend for points in Saturdays meet.
Indoor state record holder for the high jump, Hannah Martin of Rogers, will be returning to the Tyson Center on Saturday. She will be looking to defend her state title and improve on her state record of 5-7. Godwin of Sheridan will also be returning and will look to improve on her seventh place finish from 2017. Other athletes to keep an eye out for in the high jump include Haley Werner and Ella May Powell of Fayetteville, Sydney Billington, Sterling Thomas, and Lexi Matlock of Bentonville, and Makaila Murphy of Sylvan Hills. All of these athletes have personal bests of 5-0 or better.
Lake Hamilton's, Edie Murray, will be looking to defend her state title in the pole vault this year. Her personal best of 13-0 makes her the favorite returning to the event. Other vaulters looking to score in the event this year include Lcy Kate Lisle of Har-Ber, Chloe Christian, Lily Donnell, and Skyler Owens of Bentonville, Lake Hamilton's Farren Simon and Grace Cole, and Lauren Sutherland of Fort Smith Southside. All returning competitors have vaulted at least 11-0 since the 2017 indoor meet.
The top two competitors from the 2017 indoor state meet in the shot put will be returning this year. 2017 champion, Jasmin Franklin of Fayetteville, will be looking to improve on her personal best of 43-3 and a chance to defend her state title. Second in 2017, Anna Griffen of Bentonville joins Franklin for the only two returning competitors who have thrown over 40-0. Griffen will be back, throwing for a shot at the state title this year. Other returning competitors in the shot from the 2017 season include Jekiyah Bullock of Arkansas High, Madison Mallet and Halle Thomas of Russellville, Breauna Moore of Jonesboro, Shania Wilson of Bentonville, and Chanel Mille of Sylvan Hills. All of the returning competitors of thrown at least 35-0 since the 2017 indoor meet.