After winning its first two meets, two-time defending 4A state champion Heber Springs placed third as a team at the Vilonia Relays on Thursday as junior distance runner Brock Ballard led the way, winning the 1600 and placing runner-up in the 800.
Ballard finished the 1600 with a time of 4:39.47, nearly eight seconds ahead of Little Rock Christian's Austin Dewitt (4:47.35). Ballard completed the 800 with a mark of 2:04.37, less than two seconds behind winner Elijah Knight (2:02.65) of Russellville.
The Panthers completed the meet with a total of 82 points, behind winner Vilonia (112) and runner-up North Little Rock (110). Conway placed fourth with 73 points and Forrest City took fifth with 51 points.
Ethan Bly won the 400 (50.50), outrunning second place Greenbrier's Seth Thompson (50.62) by nearly two seconds and Clint Ligon won the 110 hurdles (15.25), ahead of Vilonia's Cotton Houston, who posted a time of 15.41 for runner-up.
Heber's Andrew Powell won the 3200 with a time of 10:20.13, taking down the field by a wide margin as runner-up Ben Fiser of Little Rock Christian finished second with a mark of 10:38.21.
Ligon (4th, 20' 9.5”) and Bly (5th, 20' 8.75) also picked up points in the Long Jump, while Jorge Garcia placed fourth in the 300 hurdles (43.98), Daniel Henley finished sixth in the 200 (23.81) and Austin Schmidt placed sixth in the 400 (52.90).
Also for the Panthers, Malachi Cannon took seventh in the 1600 (4:49.60), Zach McArthur placed eighth in the 800 (2:08.99) and Dylan Bly finished eighth in the High Jump (5'9”).
Heber's 4x400 relay team, consisting of Ballard, Daniel Henley, Logan Henley and Schmidt, placed fourth with a mark of 3:35.32, and the 4x800 team of Jonathan Ogle, McArthur, Logan Henley and Powell took fifth with a time of 9:15.19.
The Panthers' 4x100 relay team of Daniel Henley, Logan Henley, Eddie Irvin and Marcus Robinson finished eighth (47.83), rounding out Heber's point total.
The Lady Panthers placed 11th as a team with 22 points. Cabot (97) won the girls' meet, while North Little Rock finished runner-up (92), Conway placed third (66), Nettleton took fourth (62) and Jonesboro was fifth (56).
Mary Simmons placed the highest as an individual for the Lady Panthers, finishing third in the 800 with a time of 2:32.30.
Kelsi Davison placed fourth in the Pole Vault (7' 3”) and seventh in the 200 (28.73), while Paige Vandivor finished seventh in the 100 hurdles (17.56) and eighth in the 300 hurdles (54.40).
Also accumulating points for Heber, Christina St. John took eighth in the Discus (83' 3.5”) and the Lady Panthers' 4x800 relay team of Mary Simmons, Sarah Archer, Grace Bodron and Adrianna Simmons placed fourth with a time of 11:11.04.
Heber's Sr. High track teams return to action on Thursday at Beebe. Heber hosts the Eagle Bank Relays next Monday (Sr. High) and Tuesday (Jr. High) at Panther Stadium.