It feels like it has been a while, but we're finally back here at Milesplit Arkansas after a long offseason and we have missed quite a bit.
Over the next few weeks, we will begin picking up just where we left off this fall with our cross country coverage, providing the greatest track and field coverage across the Natural State.
But today let's focus on what we have missed in our absence.
While Arkansas has historically not been a heavy indoor track state, the 2024 season has changed that. The Arkansas Track Coaches Association has placed an even greater emphasis on this year's Arkansas Indoor State meet and considering the performances we have already seen, this season's state meet could be the best yet.
So let's jump right in and check out some of the top performances from the 2024 Arkansas Indoor Season... so far.
Julian Carter II has been ELECTRIC
Entering the indoor season, no individual in Arkansas received more praise than Marion's Julian Carter II and he has done nothing but solidify himself as one the brightest stars in the state.
The University of Arkansas commit spent no time messing around, opening his season at the Galleria Games on December 16th and picking up a win in the 800m, running a 1:55.29. Carter has since improved upon his state-leading time, running a 1:52.47 at the KYA HS Indoor Classic, which is the fastest time in the United States this indoor season.
Carter also made the trip to Chicago this winter, competing at the ultra-competitive CYUP Misfits Invite. The senior sensation picked up a signature win in his debut 600m race, running a US #3 time of 1:19.60, knocking off some of the fastest mid-distance athletes across the Midwest. In the same meet, Carter finished 3rd in the 300m discipline, running a 35.02.
It is no secret that Carter is quickly rounding into peak shape ahead of the Arkansas Indoor State meet and will be one athlete you will not want to miss when it is his turn to race on the big day, regardless of the race he is competing in.
Solara Koser isn't going anywhere
Solara Koser enjoyed a breakout campaign on the track in 2023 and has carried that momentum into 2024, picking up three wins across three disciplines, two of which (the 60m hurdles and long jump) lead the state of Arkansas.
The junior from Fayetteville won the 60m hurdles and long jump events at the Prentice Gudgen Invitational in Pittsburg, Kansas in the first weekend of January. In both events, Koser spent no time setting new personal best times of 8.72 in the 60mH and jumping 18-9.25.
Last season's 100m and 300m hurdle 6A State Champion will enter next week's Arkansas Indoor State Championships as the clear favorite in the two events as one of the state's most prolific juniors chases her first indoor state title.
Sloan Jones is an Elite Hurdler
For those who follow Arkansas Track and Field closely, the name Sloan Jones should be a name you are familiar with, but if this is your introduction to the fastest 60m hurdler in the Natural State, this certainly will not be the last time you read his name.
The senior from Fayetteville won the 110m and 300m hurdle events at the 6A State Championship last spring and has made quick work out of his few opportunities so far in 2024.
In two outings, Jones has picked up two wins in the 60m hurdles, which have come at RADD Sunshine Showcase and Arkansas HS Invitational and finds himself ranked tied for 29th in the United States in the event.
With just about a week before the indoor state meet, the fastest hurdler in the state looks poised for another big performance before the arrival of the outdoor season and one final victory lap before heading off to college next fall.
Zoe Wilson: the Queen of Arkansas Sprints?
It's too early for any sort of coronation, but Zoe Wilson is making her case as to why she is in fact Arkansas' sprints queen.
With times of 7.82 (60m), 24.99 (200m), and 57.24 (400m), Wilson has put together an incredibly strong start to her final high school track season, which includes a win in the 200m dash at the AAU Northern Indoor National in Chicago.
As the "big dance" nears, Wilson has a real chance of completing the sprints triple crown at the indoor state meet next weekend in Fayetteville and crowning herself as the top girls sprinter in the state of Arkansas.
Cooper Williams has been untouchable in the High Jump
Having competed in three high jump events this winter, Cooper Williams carries an undefeated record in the discipline heading into next week's indoor state meet and should continue to carry that undefeated record for much of the year.
The senior from Fayetteville has been the standard for high jumping in Arkansas for much of his career. As a freshman, Williams finished 4th at the 6A State Championships in the event and has yet to lose at a state meet since. And if Williams continues to replicate his recent performances, we don't see that coming to an end anytime soon.
Williams currently sits tied for the 24th-best mark in the high jump in the United States and has the credentials to go along with his recent success as the state's top high jumper finishing 10th at Nike Outdoor Nationals last spring.
With just a few months remaining in his historic high school career, Williams will be chasing his 5th state championship in the high jump next week and will be on a collision course with history this spring as he will be the heavy favorite to win his 3rd straight 6A state title, a feat very few have accomplished.