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.
There is a whole lot of star power in Division 6A.
Damari Smith has been dominant this season, racking up six wins in all six races across the 100m and 200m dash events. The defending champion in the 200m dash is ranked 1st in 6A in both sprint events and has set himself up to finish his high school career strong.
Dawson Welch enters Thursday's state meet ranked 1st in the 400m and 800m, looking to add to his state title in the 1,600m from last year. Welch has run events ranging from the 200m dash to the 3,200m this season, showing off spectacular range, which is his most dangerous weapon at this year's state meet.
Hudson Betts came up just short of a state championship in the 1,600m at last year's state championship. This season, there has been little doubt as to who the best miler is in the state. Betts owns the fastest marks in the state in the 1,600m and 3,200m events and is hoping to add to his six state championships before graduating later this month.
Sloan Jones has been electric over the hurdles this spring. Jones did not compete in any hurdle events until April 20th this spring but has made the most of his shortened season, running to a 39.22 in the 300m hurdles and two victories in the 110m hurdles. The junior will be hoping to win his first state championship this Thursday.
While Fayetteville has several individuals who are considered the favorites entering this year's state meet, Bentonville will hope their relay teams can match their production. Bentonville is ranked 1st in the 4x200m, 4x400m, and 4x800m relay events and will likely score in the 4x100m as well. It's likely the team championship comes down to these two teams and is sure to be a close competition.
Very few 6A girls own multiple top marks entering Thursday's state championships, making this event the most competitive of the week.
In the sprint events, Raghan Allen, Ranayla Moten, and Allison Fernstrom will be three names to keep an eye on as they have all impressed this season and are capable of winning multiple state titles this week.
Lilly Beshears (1,600m) and Madison Galindo (3,200m) lead 6A in their respective events but will face stiff competition from one another.
Solara Koser has been untouchable over the hurdles this season. The sophomore has quickly made a name for herself, collecting eight wins in eight races across the 100m and 300m hurdles. Koser came up just short of a state title last season but is a favorite to leave this year's meet with two.
Multiple teams are in contention to leave with a state championship on Thursday. Conway would appear to be a top contender, but Bentonville, once again, has three relay teams ranked 1st in the division. While these two teams look poised to battle it out for a team title, Bryant is another team to watch and could potentially sneak up on the two favorites.