Pictured above, Tigers Tommy Phang, Gage Rogers, Logan Cravey, and Branson Carver show of their first place ribbons for the men’s 4x400m relay at Mansfield.
Through the first three track meets of the season, the Mansfield seventh grade boys are undefeated in 4x400m relay races. After an inauspicious start to their career, the group has quickly built a strong reputation.
The winning streak the four young Tigers have put together almost never took place. At their first meet, which took place a little over a month ago, the collection of rookies felt the soreness and fatigue of a long night of events. By the time the concluding 4x400m relay race rolled around, there was plenty of excuses not to run.
“My foot is cramped. My quad hurts. I don’t know if I can make it.” Those were just some of the typical excuses being bantered about as the crew was looking for a reason not to run.
Longtime Mansfield coach John Mackey who’s seen and heard a lot over his 30 plus years of coaching wasn’t buying it. His response was an ultimatum. Run the relay or never run it again this season.
“It’s typical of the first seventh grade meet,” explained Mackey. “It’s so new. The intensity level stretched over 16 events and multiple hours takes it toll. The effort needed over such long a time frame is more than they realize.”
“Other sports in the seventh grade are over in about an hour,” the coach continued. “Track is a 4 to 5 hour marathon. The body just wants to rest. But, it will respond with strong mental will.”
Respond is what Tommy Phang, Gage Rogers, Logan Cravey, and Branson Carver did. They forgot their woes and dug deep. Together they forged a surprising win going away.
Since that time, they have not been challenged in the four lap cooperative. Mile relay victories have reached three consecutive. Confidence has moved off the charts.
“Sometimes it just takes the courage to take that first step,” reflected Mackey. “These boys just needed a boost. I knew they had talent. They needed to discover it for themselves.”
Phang and Cravey also run the hurdles for Mansfield. The brutal 300m style is quickly becoming their featured race as well. At the recent Mansfield Seventh Grade Ribbon Run on March 26, the two each won their individual heats.
Approximately 14 schools showed for the Monday night meet at Tiger Stadium. Mansfield’s seventh grade boys and girls both enjoyed marked success.
Official teams scores were not kept but by the bulk of ribbons Mansfield players hauled away, it was a good night to be a Tiger.
Carver showed off in the men’s high jump going 5’ 2” and was high among 100 meter dash runners with a 12.90 clocking.
Rogers went 13.93 in his heat of the 100m dash. He also joined Phang, Cravey, and Carver in a second place 4x100m relay grouping earlier in the night.
Braxton Byers, Codee Helms, and Levi Cothran continued to improve in the shot and discus rings. Seth Carter and Kindel Noblitt made strides in the triple jump sand.
Clint Stovall, Tyler Woolbright, and Ashton Hinkle joined Carter in a solid 4x800m relay finish.
Woolbright and Trenton Leroy were both clocked under 30 seconds for the 200m dash. Woolbright went 28.44 while Leroy crossed in 28.97.
On the girls side Madelen Jones, Skylynn Harris, and Olivia Bouse continued to head the class albeit in different ways.
Jones made her mark winning the 100m hurdles and placing high in the 300m hurdles and high jump.
Harris threw an amazing 80 feet 10 inches in the discus to secure another victory. She also pushed the six pound shot over 33 feet for another win.
Bouse broke the seven minute mark in the 1600m run. She was near the top in the 800m run and was the Lady Tiger’s top leg in the 4x800m relay.
Jadelynn Wood competed in her first 100m hurdle race, and went first in the 4x100m relay. The versatile athlete continued to fill the need among multiple events for Mansfield.
Cassidy Carlton, Natalie Allison, Serenity Brunson, and newcomer Lita Hecox continued to improve in their specific events.
Chloe Jones, Trinity Woods, and Bethany Sartin handled in respective order the 100m dash, 400m dash, and triple jump. Seven Sanderson, Alayna Turner, and Alayna Swanger added to the throws team.
Rylie Puterbaugh and Gary Willis ribboned for the first time at the Tiger seventh grade event.