Some of the best track
athletes in the state met for one last competition before the summer break. In
the two day Arkansas High School Heptathlon and Decathlon Championships on May
15 and 16, it was Mansfield that was well represented by a trio of it’s local
For the Tigers, it was
Renden Emery, Makayla Strutton, and Sara Willadsen that took on the challenge
of the multiple events specialty meet. The group was escorted to the Fayetteville
hosted competition by Mansfield head track coach John Mackey and assistant
coach / jumps specialist Kaylie Pyles.
Emery was the Mansfield
men’s leading scorer this past track season. He was recently named the MHS male
track athlete of the year.
Willadsen was the top
award winner for the girls team. She was also the leading scorer for the Lady
Tiger senior high squad.
Strutton was an
All-District hurdler for Mansfield and was it’s second leading scorer
throughout the regular season.
Of the three, it was
Willadsen that made the most of her last track meet ever. The senior, who
actually graduated just two days before the first day of competition, scored
198 points above projections.
In four of the seven
events in which Willadsen competed, she placed above the estimated line score
that was sent in for her at registration.
“Sara had a really
solid meet, and season for that matter,” stated Mackey. “She deserved to be in
this competition. She trained in four brand new events just after the state
meet. She delivered above expectations. We’re extremely proud of what she was
able to do.”
Willadsen finished 59
out of 86 total heptathletes. Her total score for the combination of 100m
hurdles, long jump, shot put, 200m dash, high jump, discus, and 800m run was
Her best event was the
800m run. She accumulated 469 points with a time of 2:49.48. It was the
first middle distance race the track sprinter ran this year.
“Sara learned the
hurdles, long jump, and both throws in just the past two weeks,” informed the
coach. “We knew she would run a terrific distance race. The 800m is a gut
check. Sara has more intestinal fortitude than almost anyone on the team.”
Strutton was within 15
points of her projected score. Her two day total was 2573 points. Her best
events, which came at no surprise, were from her regular season event schedule.
Strutton ran the 100m
hurdles in 18.39 seconds for 449 points. She turned the half lap 200m dash in
30.76 seconds for 430 points.
“Makayla had a good
meet as well,” spoke Mackey. “”She is only sophomore, at least for the next few
days, but already one of the best girl athletes in school. We’re proud of the
way she competed in her group and overall among the great athletes in
Emery was the lone
Tiger to participate in the decathlon. The sophomore on day one entered the
100m dash, long jump, shot put, high jump, and 400m dash. On day two he wrapped
up with the 110m high hurdles, discus, pole vault, triple jump, and 1500m run.
“Renden is really a
versatile player,” stated the coach. “As a tenth grader he’s just now getting a
feel for his abilities. The weight room this summer will add some strength. The
discus and pole vault, two strength events, were his weakest areas of the ten.
Of course, he just learned those events two weeks ago.”
Emery totaled 4200
points while competing in Group Four. There was ten registered groupings with
up to nine men per group.
The sophomore jump
specialist had his best scoring from the high jump. He cleared 1.75 meters or 5
feet 8.75 inches.
“He was really jumping
well,” continued coach. “For some reason he wrecked the last two attempts
thinking his approach was too tight. I wish he would have trusted those steps
and gave it a go at the higher bars. He was really on fire leading up to that
Emery took 585 points
from the high jump. He sprinted for another 509 points in the 100m dash. The
discus only netted 259 points, and the pole vault cleared only 242 points when
a 100 point deduction was charged for a third attempt.
The curtain call for
Emery’s two day, ten event schedule was the 1500m run. Not running more than a
two lap race since February’s indoor state championships, the Tiger’s featured
player went 5:20.30 for the metric mile for 448 points.
With the conclusion of
the Arkansas Activities Association’s specialty track meet, Mansfield wrapped
up its 2019 season.
Next year’s 2020 team
will be lead by a pair of seniors to be in Delilah McKusker and Lennon Woods.
The two Tiger track athletes actually attended the heptathlon / decathlon as
mandatory helpers. The two assisted Mackey and Pyles as the Mansfield coaches
judged five of ten heptathlon high jump flights.