The Heber Springs track and field Panthers put together strong efforts at the Class 4A state meet Tuesday in Pocahontas, as two athletes combined for four wins, coupled with top ten finishes all around.
Taylor Cresswell took seventh place in the pole vault (8-00) to begin the day for Heber, while Ellie Riddle placed ninth in the long jump (14-10.5) and Taylor Hammons also competed in the pole vault, seizing twelfth. Moving on toward track events, Sophie Lawrence finished in twelfth (4:53.23) in the 1600 meter run, as Riddle found twelfth in the 400 meter dash and Mckenzie Becerra crossed the finish line in seventh in the 3200 meter run. Hammons (ninth), Sydney Buffalo (twelfth), and Sophie Lawrence (thirteenth) took on the 3200 race as well, with the quartet of Buffalo, Lawrence, Becerra, and Riddle placed fifteenth in the final event of the day, the 4X400 meter relay.
For the Panthers, who came into the day as three-time defending champions, got on the board with JaQuan Dunaway’s victory in the 100 meter dash (11.10). Junior Parker Ables kept the flame burning in the 1600 meter run, striking gold with a time of 4:35.18. Trenton Barnes provided another top-ten finish for Heber Springs, winding up in seventh (4:56.85). Lane Carter also competed with a 5:08.60 (thirteenth). Chancey Ivener (43.81) took thirteenth in the 300 meter hurdles, while Barnes (2:14.59, seventh) and Ables (1:07.938, eighth) finished close together in the 800 meter run.
Two more top podium showings came for the Panthers after Dunaway took the checkered flag in the 200 meter dash (22.369), and Ables won the 3200 meter run (10:01.98) seven seconds over runner-up Luke Walling of Cave City.
The boys took fifth place in the team rankings with 53, with Crossett edging out Nashville 70-65.5 for the championship ring. The Lady Panthers ended the day in twenty-third with five points, as Pea Ridge controlled the meet from start to finish, doubling up on second place Crossett 106-53.
Ables and Dunaway’s victories helped them clinch spots in next weekend’s Meet of Champions at Lake Hamilton High School, going up against the state event winners from Classes 1-7A.