Twenty-two junior high teams scored at the Alma Airedale Relays on March 10. Most of those were from large school divisions especially those at the top. Mansfield’s Lady Tigers didn’t win the team standings but they were the best small school track team in attendance.
Mansfield’s junior girls tallied 40 points for sixth overall in the team race. Only Northridge, the winner at 63.33, Ozark, Chaffin, Greenwood, and Clarksville were above the class 3A Tigers.
“It was really a big event with mostly large schools,” said Mansfield head coach John Mackey. “You really have to keep it perspective when you go to these type of meets. Northwest Arkansas, the River Valley, and teams stretching across the map to Dover were there. Mansfield showed they were relevant especially among schools our size.”
Freshman Madelen Jones and eighth grader Kynslee Ward showed they belonged especially in the hurdles. Jones went 18.07 for the fourth fastest time in the 100m highs. Ward went 54.25 in the 300m lows for another fourth place.
“Mansfield has developed a knack for hurdles over the years,” reflected the Mansfield coach in the midst of his 35th year of coaching. “Madelen and Kynslee fit right onto that long list of hurdle success stories. They have an unlimited upside if they want it bad enough.”
Jones was among Mansfield’s leading scorers as she pointed in three separate events. Along with her strong finish in the 100m hurdles, she was fifth in the long jump at 13’ 11” and was seventh in the 300m hurdles at 55.79.
Ward competed in a limited schedule giving the 300m hurdles her fuller attention. She saw action in two relays, the high jump, and long jump.
Mansfield’s Jadelynn Wood did not compete in the Alma hurdles due to entry limits in the sprint events. Wood stepped aside in the 300m hurdles despite winning the Booneville Bearcat’s in a time of 55.66.
“Jadelynn’s a team player,” emphasized Mackey. “She can score in a multitude of areas. She will be a maxed out player. She volunteered to move races so the team could develop depth. We wanted to test other areas and let her concentrate on her field event.”
Wood’s sixth place effort at the triple jump brought her within an inch of her personal record at 28’ 3”. She also ran the 4x800m relay, 400m dash, and 4x400m relay.
Mansfield thrower Seven Sanderson was the Lady Tiger’s top scoring cat as she accumulated 14 points from two implement events.
Sanderson, a rising three sport star, took second in the discus with a mark of 75’ 10”. She also placed third in the shot put with a large release of 33’ 9”.
Freshman teammate Alayna Turner continued her assent among the Lady Tiger throwers. Competing in her first full schedule for the two throwing events, Turner notched a sixth place in the discus at 68’ 7” and an eighth place in the shot at 28’ 6.5”.
Mansfield’s 4x800m relay team only finished tenth among the very large field. However, the combination of Raine Hecox, Laney Wood, Jadelynn Wood, and Trinty Triska ran 22 seconds faster than their last time out. They were the fourth best time among 3A Region 1 West league opponents competing at Alma.
Triska, a seventh grader, ran the seventh fastest 800m time at 2:48.78. She also tied teammate Laney Wood for eighth place in the pole vault at 6’ 6”.
Among the Tiger men, it was the pole vault that gained Mansfield the most glory. Freshman Ashton Hinkle won the whole thing with a clearance of 10 feet. In an event that lingered until the late night hours, Hinkle shined brightest.
Peyton Martin, a Mansfield eighth grader, was eight place in the pole vault with a 9 foot clearance.