Heber Springs flexed its muscle at Wednesday's 2-4A Conference track meet at Panther Stadium, blowing away the competition in both boys and girls divisions as several athletes qualified for next week's state meet.
The two-time defending state champion Panthers compiled 227 points, while Pine Bluff Dollarway took runner-up (133) and Lonoke (98.5) finished third. The Lady Panthers rolled up 260 points, Southside Batesville (127) finished second and Stuttgart took third (80).
Immaculate senior Ethan Bly paced the Panthers with 34 individual points. Bly won the 100 (11.11) and 200 (22.49), while placing runner-up in the Long Jump (21'8”) and third in the Shot Put.
Heber dynamic junior distance runner Brock Ballard won the 3200 with a time of 10:25.25 and Ballard likely would have won the 800 and 1600 as well, however he had already qualified for state in those two events and chose to fall back in the pack to all more teammates to have a chance at state.
Malachi Cannon won the 1600 (4:51.91), while Andrew Powell took runner-up (4:52.14). Cannon also placed runner-up in the 800 with a time of 2:09.24, just behind teammate Zack McArthur, who win the race by just over one second (2:08.6).
Devin Redding qualified for state with a second-place finish in the 3200 (10:53.85), Austin Schmidt placed second in the 400 (52.21) and Jorge Garcia etched a spot in state with a runner-up finish in the 300 hurdles (42.18).
Heber's 4x400 relay team of Bly, Garcia, Daniel Henley and Schmidt won first place with a time of 3:29.95 and the 4x800 relay team of McArthur, Schmidt, Ballard and Garcia won first place with a time of 9:02.80.
Rounding out Heber's athletes that qualified for state at Wednesday's meet, Derrik Fisher placed runner-up in the Shot Put (43' 9”).
Standout juniors Madi Fires and Mary Simmons paced the Lady Panthers' run to first place. Simmons won the 400 (1:05.65) and the 800 (2:36.50), while Fires won the 1600 (5:57.25) and 3200 (12:45.71) without using maximum effort as she tried to allow teammates to catch up and qualify similar to Ballard.
Heber's Shelby Clark won the 100 (13.47), Sarah Peeler won the Pole Vault (8'6”) and Christina St. John won the Discus (86'0”).
The Lady Panthers' 4x400 relay team of Paige Vandivor, Taylor Eaton, Alyssa Uphoff and Mary Simmons won their race with a time of 4:34.99 and Heber's 4x800 relay team of Grace Bodron, Adrianna Simmons,
Hannah Johnson and Mary Simmons won their race with a time of 10:53.50.
Heber's 4x100 relay team, consisting of Vandivor, Clark, Uphoff and Kelsi Davison, is state bound with a time of 53.88, which was good for second place.
Also qualifying for state by virtue of finishing in the Top 2, Kelsi Davison paced runner-up in the 200 (28.50), Uphoff took second in the 400 (1:06.53), Amanda Matthews was second in the 1600 (5:57.56), Bodron finished runner-up in the 3200 (13:24.02), Vandivor placed second in the 300 hurdles (53.03) and McKenzie Cresswell took second in the Discus (74'4”).
Rounding out Heber's state qualifiers, freshman Alison Thomas, who scored a meet-high 39 points while leading the Junior Lady Panthers to a conference title, qualified for state in the 100 hurdles (2nd, 17.68) and High Jump (4' 8”).
Page 2 of 2 - Heber is scheduled to host the 4A State meet on Thursday, May 2.