Early on Mansfield eighth grader Brandon Carver couldn’t decide which vertical jump he liked best. At first the high jump intrigued him. Later the pole vault consumed most of his interests. Eventually the second year track athlete managed to excel in both. Now, he has two junior high records to show for his efforts.
Above Tiger Track Stadium and just behind the press box a records board shows outstanding times and distances recorded by top notch Mansfield track athletes. Because of his outstanding performances over the course of a district championship season, Carver’s name will now be listed among those great performances.
Carver broke both the Mansfield Junior High records in high jump and pole vault this past season. The new MJH record for high jump is 5’ 6”. The new record for pole vault is an astonishing 10’ 6”.
Carver’s high jump clearance was accomplished twice this season. Once at Waldron and another at Alma. If he was old enough to participate at the senior high district, it would have placed second and qualified him to the 3A state meet.
Over the last two weeks of the season, Carver caught fire in the pole vault as well. He won the Waldron Bulldog pole vault competition with a leap of 10’ 6”. He took that momentum and captured the 3A Region 1 West Junior High Conference title with an equally high leap 8 days later.
“Brandon has some real talent in track,” stated Mansfield Coach John Mackey. “Coach (Josh) Bryan got him interested in the vertical leaps last year as a seventh grader. When Brandon gets motivated to win, he is pretty hard to beat.”
“I’d like to see him go get some expert lessons at the Arkansas Vault Club or somewhere like that,” continued Mackey. “We’ve had two state champions in the vault at Mansfield with Travis Sharp and Mallory Ward. They both went to AVC. It may really make at difference in his jumps.”
Carver will be eligible for state competition next season as a freshman. His first opportunity for that upgraded competition will be in February at the indoor state meet. After completing his junior high season in the spring in 2019, plans are to move up the high flyer for senior high conference and beyond.