The parking lot along the back side of Tiger Stadium was a sea of yellow. Yellow, the prominent color of school buses, dotted the landscape as 24 different schools attended the 14th annual Junior Tiger Relays at Mansfield on March 29.
“It was a tremendous crowd of athletes amassed inside our facilities,” spoke head Tiger John Mackey. “We try to put on a very competitive meet. Teams from as far as Russellville and Mena made their way to our corner of the Scott County.”
It was those caliber of schools that also made big impressions at the Tiger hosted event. Mena won the girls division. Waldron won the boys. Russellville came in second in both genders.
Mansfield’s girls had the most success from the local circuit. They finished in fourth place overall. The Tiger men came in at ninth on their side of the bracket.
Freshman Lady Tiger Danielle Lillie in her first meet of the outdoor season was a point away from high point honors. The ninth grade indoor medalist has been busy playing softball since the 1A-4A state championships concluded in February.
The talented sprinter won the 100m hurdles in a very close race. Her 17.80 marking edged out Lauren Sikes of Mena by 0.04 seconds.
Lillie was second in the long jump landing 14’ 5” in a rain soaked sand pit. She was also fourth in the 100m dash at 14.59 to cover her individual events.
Both the 4x100m relay and the 4x400m relay was anchored by the freshman. Haylee Helms, Hailey Walker, and Sadie Roberts joined Lillie for a 59.38 fifth place finish.
Faith Rainwater, McKenzie Griffin, and Shelby Cole completed the other cooperative with the high point runner-up in a time of 5:15.03 for fifth place.
Mansfield seventh grader Skylnn Harris blasted the junior high school record in the shot put with a mighty heave of 35’ 04”. She won the event.
The rookie competitor has quickly made a name for herself at both the shot and discus rings. Three days earlier at a seventh grade only competition she tossed the discus a school leading 80’ 10”.
Brooke Wright, an older teammate, whirled the discus 76’ 2” for seventh place. She was ninth in the shot at 30’ 10”.
Over on the boy’s side, Branson Carver and Bri Sanderson of Mansfield had some of the higher placings. Carver was third in the high jump at 5’ 4”. Sanderson was fourth in the discus at 118’ 3”.
Steven Perez had his best showing in the pole vault by going 8’ 6”. He was sixth overall after an hour delay was caused by an earlier jumper breaking the standards.
Mansfield maintenance specialist Ronnie Black came from his off duty hours to remedy the situation.
Perez, Dru Buckner, and Ethan Chapman were solid legs on the men’s middle distance races. Buckner was one of the top three Tigers in the men’s 300m hurdles along with Carver and Renden Emery.
Emery also went 15-10 in his first long jump competition. He has been Mansfield’s top triple jumper and 100m hurdler.
Austin Carlton was just off pace in the 100m hurdles behind Emery’s 19.13 eighth place mark. Carlton clocked in at 20.06 for tenth place among the multi-heat field.
Madelen Jones and Cole each made noise in the women’s hurdle races. Jones, just a seventh grader, crossed at 18.96 for seventh place overall in the 100m highs. Cole kept pace in the 300m lows for a fourth place 59.09 marking.
Olivia Bouse, another seventh grader, along with Rainwater, Griffin, and Hope Rainwater helped take the Tigers into fourth place in the 4x800m relay. Bouse also ran well in the open 800m. She was clocked at 2:59.31 for ninth place among nearly 40 runners.
Roberts was excited to clear 4’ 8” for the the first time this season over at the high jump venue. That clearance placed her second among 39 vertical jumpers.
Walker from the Lady Tiger jumps team cleared 4’ 2” for eight place at that same event.
Roberts also cleared 6’ 0” in the pole vault. That was good for four points to the Lady Tiger cause.
Hailey Burns posted her season best in the shot put. She went 31’ 7” throwing the six pounder. It measured as the eighth best throw on the day.