At this point in the season, the mantra seems to be quality, not quantity for two-time defending 4A state champion Heber Springs.
At this point in the season, the mantra seems to be quality, not quantity for two-time defending 4A state champion Heber Springs. With senior Clint Ligon saddled by an injury, the Panthers are looking to qualify for state with top marks in as many events as possible, rather than push for team victory in regular season meets such as Monday's Sara Low Relays. Despite athletes focusing on fewer events, the Panthers took second with 116 points, behind winner Vilonia (133). Class 3A power Rivercrest finished third with 75 points. The Lady Panthers also finished second with 90 points, 36 behind winner Jonesboro (126), while Batesville took third with 85 points. Heber held the track meet in cooperation with Batesville, which usually hosts the event in honor of Low, who ran track and field and cross country at the largest school in Independence County from 2005-2009. Low tragically died on Sept. 11, 2001 while serving as a flight attendant on the first plane that crashed into the World Trade Center. Heber Coach Johnette Goldman said Low's father surprised the large gathering of athletes and spectators with a flyover prior to Monday's meet at Panther Stadium. The Panthers own top 4A marks in nine events after Monday's meet as Ethan Bly set the 4A's top time of the year in the 100 (11.05) while capturing first place and Brock Ballard set this year's top 4A time in the 800, winning the race with a time of 2:01.07 ¬ good for fifth best among all athletes in the state. Bly also holds the top 4A time of the year in the 200 at 22.31, which is second best among all classifications. Ballard has posted the time of the year in all of 4A in the 1600 (4:35.05), but the two Panther standout athletes only competed in one of their top two events on Monday, further proving the strategy of quality over quantity. Andrew Powell, who currently holds the top 4A time in the 3200 (10:20.13), won the 1600 at Sara Low with a time of 4:39.21, while Heber's Malachi Cannon took third (4:49.48) and Jorge Garcia placed fourth (4:51.09) in the mile run. Powell didn't run the 3200 on Monday, but teammates Jonathan Ogle (4th, 11:31.28) and Devin Redding (11:46.62) each placed. Heber's 4x400 relay team of Bly, Austin Schmidt, Garcia and Daniel Henley won their race with a time of 3:32.92. Mary Simmons and Grace Bodron were the top performers for the Lady Panthers. Simmons, who currently holds the top 4A time in the 800 (2:29.29), completed Monday's 800 with a time of 2:31.54 to win first place. Bodron won the 1600 with a time of 5:52.74 and she also captured first place in the 3200 (12:55.27). Plus, Bodron, Adrianna Simmons, Hannah Johnson and Mary Simmons teamed to win the 4x800 relay with a time of 10:50.72. Complete results for Heber (Boys) 100 1st Ethan Bly (11.05) 200 2nd Daniel Henley (23.63) 4th Austin Schmidt (23.81) 400 2nd Austin Schmidt (52.44) 800 1st Brock Ballard (2:01.07) 5th Andrew Powell (2:06.72) 1600 1st Andrew Powell (4:39.21) 3rd Malachi Cannon (4:49.48) 3200 4th Jon Ogle (11:31.28) 6th Devin Redding (11:46.62) 110 hurdles 6th Jorge Garcia (17.98) 7th Chance Donaldson (18.08) 300 hurdles 4th Jorge Garcia (43.23) 4x100 Relay (4th) 4x400 Relay (1st) 4x800 Relay (4th) High Jump 4th Dylan Bly (5'4”) Pole Vault 7th Evan Peeler (10') Long Jump 4th Dylan Bly (19' 9.5”) Shot Put 6th Ethan Bly (42'6”) Discus 7th Mason Schroeder Heber (Girls) 100 4th Shelby Clark (13.51) 200 5th Kelsi Davison (28.50) 400 5th Alyssa Uphoff (1:07.60) 800 1st Mary Simmons (2:31.54) 1600 1st Grace Bodron (5:52.74) 3200 1st Grace Bodron (12:55.27) 3rd Amanda Matthews (13:06.83) 100 hurdles 5th Paige Vandivor (17.45) 300 hurdles 7th Paige Vandivor (52.86) 4x100 (4th) 4x400 (4th) 4x800 (1st) High Jump 7th Shelby Clark (4'6”) Pole Vault 4th Kelsi Davison (8') Discus 4th Christina St. John (83')