BY MELANIE BUCK –
Mena High School was well represented in the 2017 Class 4A State Track and Field Championship in Paragould, Arkansas on Tuesday, May 2nd. As seniors took their last steps on the track as high school athletes, several freshmen took their first steps in the coveted state meet, showing promise to the future of the sport at MHS.
Senior Landon Stidman was first up in the high jump. Although he missed his mark, he set his sights on later races. He was able to secure 5th in the state in the 800 meter run with a time of 2:10.11.
In other field events, Braxton Bahr placed 8th in discus, with 117-5, and Zion Barnes pulled in 12th with 107-9. Caleb Holmes entered his first state event as a freshman in the triple jump, taking 14th with 37-6.75.
Seniors Clint Buck and Anthony Kennedy also secured placings in their events, ending their careers in a top-notch slot. Both ran in the 4×800 relay with freshmen Devon Adams and Curtis Curry. Adams took the lead leg and bolted through the two laps before passing on to Curry who kept pace with the front of the pack. Kennedy pulled in the third leg and brought the team into second place behind Heber Springs. Buck ran the anchor leg and kept the pace going to become 2nd in the state in the event.
The girls 4×800 relay team also fared well, earning 6th, and their team also consisted of two seniors, Abbie Smith and Evie Smith, and two freshmen, Sierra Grimsley and Julianna Kennedy. Again, the two freshmen took the first two legs and kept pace with the pack. Although Evie Smith was battling an injury she pulled up the third leg, toughing it out until passing the baton to Abbie Smith who rocketed around the track to secure 6th place for the team. Abbie Smith also ran the 800 meter run, earning 3rd in a time of 2:27.85.
The girls 4×400 meter relay took 13th place and the boys 4×400 took 10th.
In long distance runs, Buck took 8th place in the 1,600 meter in 4:58.69, in a grueling pack with Robert McIntyre coming in 12th in 5:07.07 The pair also ran in the 3,200 meter with McIntyre coming in 9th in 11:01.50. Buck was tripped up during the second lap, but got up quickly to continue the rack. He finished 10th in 11:24.71.
Although these talented seniors will not return next year, the future of Mena Track and Field shows much promise and the coaches look forward to next year. The boys are coached by Aaron Pennington and the girls by Brad Lyle.