Heber Springs junior track and field star Clint Ligon compiled a two-day total of 5,908 points for third place during last week’s state decathlon held at Hot Springs High School.
Fayetteville senior Brad Culp won with 6,750 points and Rogers Heritage junior Alex Miles took runner-up, posting 6,015 points. All but three of the top 10 finishers were seniors, excluding Ligon, Miles and De Queen’s Cameron Threadgill, who placed seventh with 5, 391 points.
Ligon was second overall after Wednesday’s round of events, which included the 100, long jump, shot put, high jump and 400. Competing against 48 athletes, Ligon ran the 100 in 11.74 for 11th, jumped 20’ 5” for 10th in the long jump, heaved the shot put 37’ 8 ¾” for 8th, cleared 6’ 3 ¼” for second in the high jump and ran the 400 in 53.85 for 13th.
On Thursday, Ligon finished runner-up in the 110 high hurdles with a time of 15.36, placed eighth in the discus (108’ 9”) and 5th in the triple jump, one spot in front of Culp, who led Ligon by just 239 points entering the final two events.
But, Culp used a 15’ pole vault to virtually clinch the title while Ligon dropped to third with a mark of 7’ 4” in the pole vault. Ligon finished strong, edging Culp (4:59.17) with a time of 4:57.20 in the 1,600.
Junior Jorge Garcia (28th) also represented the Class 4A state champion Panthers at the decathlon, while Heber senior Savannah Thomas (25th) and sophomore Tabetha Ridgway (40th) were among 45 female athletes competing in the state heptathlon.
Lady Panthers Coach Johnette Goldman is proud of all four kids that participated. “Each athlete did a great job. It is a great challenge for athletes with so many things going on here at the end of school. Coach [Dale] Cresswell and I appreciate the sacrifices these four made to continue competing for Heber Springs.”
“Savannah had the 3rd best 800,” Goldman continued. “She ran an excellent race. She performed well at each of the events. Tabetha had practiced very hard at the events every practice since state and did a great job for her first visit to the heptathlon. We were very proud of Jorge, but he was disappointed in himself. He was very focused at practice to try to learn how to tackle the ten events. Next year, as his confidence improves, he will have a great showing.”
Goldman said she and Cresswell couldn’t have been prouder of Ligon. “Thanks to Clint's third-place showing, our school will have the opportunity to take three boys to the competition next year. Clint Ligon was the competitor one would expect after knowing his efforts through the regular seasons. He is a machine with a smile. We are proud of all four of the athletes,” added Goldman.
“We appreciate Dennis Powell and Amanda Matthews for helping run off events and we would also like to say thanks to the families for the kind support shown. It was a great way to end the season,” stated Goldman.