MHHS Track Team Secures Runner Up at Conference

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Joia Traver, Co-Editor

The boys and girls Track Team both placed runner up in the 5A West Conference meet held in Russellville. It was a close second to Vilonia with 151 points for the girls and 130.5 points for the boys. Racing in the heat of the day, many Mountain Home athletes set personal records and earned points for the team to get the title of Runner Up.

“When we moved what conference we’re in this year (5A East to 5A West), I feel like we did really well as a team considering the teams we were up against,” junior Jacob Lewis explains. 

Starting off with field events at around 10 o’clock AM, Emma Wilber scored 5 points in High Jump, taking fourth place. In the boys High Jump, Levi Utchman and Robert Dover went fourth and fifth, and Ian Blair took seventh. Jumping into the jumping events, Kylee Sabella placed third in Long Jump with 16’7”, and Riley Schmitz got sixth. In Triple Jump, Sabella took third again, earning the team 6 points. Schmitz, Kendall Carter, and Merit McConnell placed sixth, seventh, and eighth, respectively. On the guy’s side, Brody Patterson started his share of the meet off by placing fifth in Triple Jump, getting 4 points for the team. Cayden Jones PR’ed in Shot Put with a mark of 31’2” and placed seventh. Robert Dover threw his way into sixth place in Shot Put and got the team 3 points. In the final throwing event, Victoria Bevel placed second in Discus with Jones not too far behind. Kinsey Taylor placed second in Pole Vault with a height of 8’10” and Joia Traver vaulted into seventh place a foot under Taylor. In the final field event, Michael Davis placed third in Pole Vault with a height of 12’2”, scoring 6 points for the team. 

“My favorite part of the team this year was the effort that everyone put forward to make the team feel more like a team. This was the first year of track that I’ve been a part of the team. It didn’t feel like everyone was separated in their own events groups because everyone did their part to go out of their way to encourage everyone at practice and at meets,” junior Andrew Westphal says. 

After the field events were all said and done, and the sun was getting low, the track events were started off with the 4×800 with Chloe Lydon, Emma Martin, Britney Jenkins, and Mackenzi Clark. They placed second and scored 8 points for the team. In the 4×800 for the boys, Ky Bickford, Anderson Hodges, Bryson Hodges, and Max Hough got second place as well. Hurdling into fifth place, Chafin secured four points for the team in her first running event. Schmitz followed shortly after to get seventh place. Brody Patterson continued his share of the meet in the 110 Hurdles, placing first place with a time of 15.54 seconds, and Adrian Bzel followed him into fifth. McConnell, Carter, Sabella, and Jackson got a solid third place in the 4×200. Dover, Daniel, Stockton, and Speer came in fourth for their 4×200. Marcie Cudworth (recipient of the Jim Holsted Athlete of the Year award) demonstrated her skills by winning the 1600 with a time of 5:19.00. Whit Lawrence, also a senior with Cudworth, also won the 1600 with a time of 4:27.50, and Andrew Westphal PR’ed with a 4:29.97 and placed third. 

“This was the best year that the whole team has had since I’ve been a part of it. I’m super proud of how much effort everyone put forward just to make sure that they were able to perform at the best of their ability,” Westphal elaborates. 

The girl’s 4×100 placed second and consisted of Schmitz, Sabella, McConnell, and Chafin. All three girls that ran the 400 (Clark, Jackson, and Mullin) got personal bests and came in eighth, seventh, and sixth respectively. Brothers Anderson and Bryson Hodges placed fourth and fifth in the 400, and Robert Dover followed soon to take eighth. Chafin turned right back around and ran the 300-meter hurdles, placing fifth, with Carson Schmitz on her tail to take eighth. Brody Patterson, who is no stranger to getting gold, placed first yet again in his 300-meter hurdles. His sister, Rylee Patterson placed sixth in the 800, and Emily Payne placed third. Andrew Westphal took third in the 800 with a 2:01.33. Lots of Lady Bombers got their share of points in the 3200, with Cudworth taking first, Ritenburg taking third, Leah Hunt placing seventh, and Whitney Wilbur placing eighth. The same trend stuck with the boys’ 3200, with Lawrence in first, Hughes in third, and Westphal in fifth. Finally, the meet came down to the last event: the 4×400. The girls’ team fought for second place, and Mullin, Payne, Martin, and Clark successfully took it with a time of 4:26.59. Just barely falling short of first place, Bickford, the Hodges, and Patterson got second place with a time of 3:30.05. 

“This year was by far the most successful as many people improved their bests and competed at the best times at the most competitive conference in the states,” Westphal goes on to explain, “we also performed much better at state than we did in 2019; we had 2 individual state champions and multiple people get into the top 8 and top 5 in their events.”