2023 Arkansas Indoor Track & Field State Meet: 5A Preview

We have made it! For the final time this season, the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas will host the top track and field athletes in the state this Saturday. With outdoor track on the horizon, this will be the last chance to improve upon their personal bests before we take things from the 200m banked tracks to the 400m oval.

1A/2A | 3A | 4A | 5A | 6A

Josiah Rainey from Sylvan Hills High School returns to the 5A indoor state championship meet as a favorite in two events after a stellar showing as a freshman last year. Rainey is the top seed in 5A, entered at a 7.18 in the 60m dash and 21.83 in the 200m dash, which is ranked second entire the entire state.

Rainey is also entered in the 400m dash where he will go up against James Hunter from Parkview High School, the top runner in the state in the event. Hunter is seeded at 48.91 and will look to win his second consecutive 400m championship. Hunter will also defend his 2022 200m dash championship from last season this Saturday.

The boy's 1600m race might be the most stacked event we see on Saturday. Last year's champion Noah Embrey from Greenwood High School is set to defend his championship against River Hardman from Russellville High School and Ky Bickford from Mountain Home High School.

Bickford enters this weekend's race with the fastest time, having run a 4:20.19, but will be racing his first-ever indoor meet this Saturday, which will be an interesting storyline to watch.

Embrey posted a time of 4:24.66 at the Oklahoma HS Indoor #2 meet on February 4th and appears to be just as sharp as he was this fall when he raced to a 5A cross country state championship.

Hardman has run two 4:27 miles this season, which is a little off Bickford and Embrey's seed times, but posted an impressive 800m in January at the Arkansas High School Invitational, running a 1:57.81, showing that he has stellar speed, which could be the difference maker in this weekend's 1600m championship race.

The 4x400m relay will be an exciting duel between Beebe High School and Russellville High School. Just 1.2 seconds separated the two teams in the 2022 championship race and both teams return their "A" squads this season, which should make for an excellent race.

Kercher Herring from Russellville High School will have his sights on winning his first-ever state championship this weekend in the pole vault. Herring enters the weekend ranked second in the state in the event with a height of 14-8.

After finishing second in four events at the indoor state meet last year: the 60m and 200m dash races, as well as the high jump and long jump events, Carmin Tolliver from Sylvan Hills High School would seem poised to win a state championship with the winner in all four of these events graduating last season.

Tolliver has yet to declare for the meet, but having competed throughout the season and owning the top marks in 5A, Tolliver is without a doubt the top name to watch in all four events entering Saturday's championship meet.

Olivia Pielemeier from Lake Hamilton High School enters this weekend's championship meet with the fastest marks in the state in the 800m and 1600m events. Pielemeier's 2:16.09 800m and 4:54.77 1600m marks from last season set the stage for her to capture her eighth and ninth state title this weekend.

The 5A girl's pole vault championship will once again come down to Sophia Allen from Sheridan High School and Taylor Hankins from Greenwood High School, who are ranked second and third in the state respectively. Allen has edged out Hankins the last two times the two vaulters have squared off against one another, but Hankins has since improved her top mark, jumping an 11-6 this indoor season at the MSSU Lion HS Open, compared to Allen's indoor best of 11-7.