Preview: 2023 Arkansas 5A Outdoor State Track and Field Meet

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.


The 5A division in Arkansas seems to be home for many of the most talked about athletes in the state, which should lead to one of the best state meets in recent memory.

Where else is there to start other than with Olivia Pielemeier. The future Arkansas Razorback has lit up the track over the last four years and her historic reign will come to an end at this Thursday's state championship meet.

Pielemeier is ranked 1st in the 800m, 1,600m, and 3,200m distance events and has the chance to increase the number of state championships from 12 to 15. Whether or not Pielemeier chooses to triple this week remains to be seen, but the Arkansas 3,200m state record holder is sure to put on a show one last time.

Tramiral Jackson has been spectacular in the two hurdle events this spring, setting new personal bests and collecting 8 wins across the two events. Entering the state championships, Jackson is ranked 1st in the 100m and 300m hurdle races in the division and will look to add to her title from last season.

While Jackson has been great, Mikaela Miller has been just as good over the hurdles this spring and will provide terrific competition for the senior. Miller, Jackson's top competition in both hurdle events, is just a freshman, and with a win on Thursday, she could set herself up for one of Arkansas' dominant streaks that we have seen in years past.

Week in and week out, Donna Douglas has dominated the discus and shot put events. Entering the state meet undefeated in both events, the best girls thrower in Arkansas will be searching for her 2nd and 3rd state championship on Thursday.

1A | 2A | 3A | 4A | 5A | 6A

Taylor Hankins and Sophia Allen have been battling back and forth in the pole vault for the past two years. At last year's state meet, Allen defeated Hankins in this event and then again this winter at the Arkansas Indoor HS Championships. But now, Hankins owns the advantage and enters the meet ranked ahead of Allen. This incredible rivalry will come to a close for one last competition on Thursday and is one of the top events of the week.

El Dorado is the favorite to win the girls team title entering this season's state meet. The powerhouse program is led by their 5A leading 4x100m, 4x200m, and 4x400m relay teams as well as two other individuals leading the division. However, you can not count out Lake Hamilton, which is led by Olivia Pielemeier and Mikaela Miller. Together, the two give this team enough star power to compete with one of the state's best programs.

As if the 5A girls didn't have enough star power, the 5A boys state meet is just as stacked.

DeAndra Burns Jr. might be one of the best athletes in the country and will be making his final Arkansas state meet appearance. Burns is the top-ranked individual in the 100m and 200m dash events, along with the long jump, and will be looking to add to his two state titles on Thursday.

To be brief, the distance races at the 5A state championships are going to be incredible.

River Hardman (800m), Joseph Bariola (1,600m), and Noah Embrey (3,200m) each lead the division in their respective events and are more than capable of winning multiple state titles this weekend.

Those three are not the only distance runners capable of walking home with a state title either. Julian Carter is a force to be reckoned with in the 800m and Ky Bickford could easily win a second straight state title in the 1,600m. There are several different outcomes possible for these three events on Thursday, which could make for a dramatic event.

The boys pole vault is loaded with six athletes separated by just four inches. Zach Daugherty and Lance McNew enter Thursday with the best marks, both having jumped 15-0 this season. The pair will face stiff competition, however, from three other jumpers who have recorded jumps of 14-8 this season, including Jeremy Racca, Michael Davis, and Adam Jones.

The boys team championship appears to be wide open and a collection of teams are capable of winning a team title. El Dorado and Russellville are two teams to keep an eye on, but Vilonia and Mountain Home are two other teams that should also be fighting for a spot on the podium as well.