The 2022-2023 indoor track and field season culminates this weekend at the 2023 Arkansas High School Indoor Track & Field Championships in Fayetteville. Athletes from around the state will gather at the Randal Tyson Track Center on Saturday, February 18th, vying for indoor state titles while preparing for the upcoming outdoor season. As the competition nears, let's take a look at some of the top athletes and events to watch in both the girls' and boys' divisions.
Raghan Allen (Sr, Conway HS): One of the most decorated current runners in the state, Conway's Allen has her eyes set on yet two more gold medals: in the 60m dash and 200m dash. Her entry times (7.42 in the 60m, 24.60 in the 200m) rank as easily the fastest overall.
Solara Koser (Soph, Fayetteville HS): Koser, only a sophomore, takes the fastest time in the state, and top-100 time in the nation, into the 60m hurdles (9.01). She also ranks near the top in the 400m dash (59.80, #6 in the state) and triple jump (37-3, #3 in the state).
Hannah Estes (Sr, Fayetteville HS): Koser's teammate, senior Hannah Estes, will bring excellent performances into four events: the 60m dash (8.05), 60m hurdles (9.02), long jump (17-8), and pole vault (12-8).
Paisley Hight (Jr, Bentonville HS): Look for Hight, another multi-athlete, to mount the podium in the 400m dash, 60m hurdles, and high jump. Her top-ranked high jump mark (5-4) matches Fayetteville HS junior Ava Goetz, who should also factor prominently into the 800m run.
Long jump and triple jump: The 6A girls' horizontal jumps should be characterized by fierce competition. Several athletes will be competitive in both, including Emelia Thurston (Sr, Bentonville HS), Laci Gartside (Sr, Har-Ber HS), and Alicia Covington (Sr, Rogers HS).
1600m run: The 6A boys' 1600m run, featuring a pair of seniors committed to run at the University of Tennessee in the Fall, figures to be one of the most compelling races of the day. Hudson Betts of Fayetteville HS faces off against his future teammate Dawson Welch of Har-Ber HS, with the two entry times separated by less than a tenth of a second (4:09.96 and 4:10.05, respectively). This one could come down to the wire.
800m run: Welch will also take the track in the 800m run, this time as the favorite (1:53.00 entry). He may be challenged by Fayetteville HS senior Hunter Kemp (1:56.33) and Rogers Heritage HS senior Sam Boyer (1:55.63), the latter of whom will also figure near the top of the 1600m race.
Nicholas Quinn (Sr, Rogers HS): Quinn enters the day as the favorite in the 400m dash (49.00) as well as a key player in the 60m dash (7.20), 200m dash (22.65), high jump (6-4), and long jump (no seed).
High jump: Along with Quinn, the 6A boys' high jump features plenty of leaping talent, headlined by Fayetteville HS junior Cooper Williams (6-11.5) and Rogers Heritage HS senior JJ Lockett (6-4.75). Williams will also compete in the triple jump while Lockett boasts top-2 marks in the long jump (23-2.75, #2 overall) and triple jump (45-11, #1 overall).
200m dash: Fort Smith Northside HS senior Damari Smith arrives as the heavy favorite for the 6A boys' 200m dash with one of the fastest times in the nation (21.36). Likely joining him on the podium will be Bentonville HS senior Carson Tucker, who also happens to be the favorite in the 60m dash (6.98).