We have finally made it: it's state championship week. The best high school athletes in Arkansas are set to compete in the most talented track meet in the state.
Before action across the Natural State begins, be sure to brush up on your Arkansas Track and Field with our comprehensive preview for this week's championship events.
2023 ARKANSAS OUTDOOR STATE MEET COVERAGE:
The 3A girls division has some of the best talent in the state and should produce some of the best competition this week.
All eyes are on Juliah Rodgers as the senior from Jessieville enters the weekend ranked 1st in the 800m, 1,600m, and 3,200m races. Rodgers is one of the most decorated athletes in the state, winning ten state championships in her elusive high school career. The superstar senior could hope to go out in dominating fashion and pull off the extremely difficult distance triple.
There are many sprinters who could walk away as state champions. Knelia and Nyla Watson, as well as Helen Hesselgren, all won an individual state title during indoor track and are all currently ranked inside the top 5 in 3A in multiple sprint events. Leah Schepers, the division leader in the 100m dash, is another sprinter that will be competing for a championship on Tuesday.
Lydia Russell is currently ranked 1st in 3A in the 110m and 300m hurdles, as well as the long jump. The sophomore has taken a massive leap from last season and has put together one of the best seasons from an individual this season, which could result in her state championship.
The girls team championship is up for grabs this weekend as multiple teams have enough athletes qualified to win on Tuesday. Prescott has historically raced well in the relay races and has three individuals ranked 1st in 3A. DeWitt, Jessieville, and Riverview are three other teams to keep an eye on.
Hunter Pye is the other puzzle piece to Jessieville's distance duo. The junior won his first state championship in the 1,600m last season and has positioned himself to win a few more this season. Pye currently owns the fastest marks in the 3A 800m and 1,600m events and will be a top contender in both races Tuesday.
Trey Haworth and Rocco Patrick have both been incredible in 2023, remaining undefeated in their main events. Haworth owns the top mark in Arkansas in the high jump, while Patrick is ranked 1st in the state in the discus. The two are among the top athletes in the state and will hope to add to their long list of achievements this week.
Prescott would appear to be set up best to compete for a team championship this Tuesday, with ten total first-ranked marks in 3A, including two relay teams. Jessieville will hope to chase down the historical powerhouse with their elite distance team, which includes the fastest 4x800m team in 3A.