BY MELANIE BUCK –
Mena High School senior Zach Jewell blew away his competition at the Class 4A Arkansas State Track Meet held in Nashville on Tuesday, May 2nd, becoming a 3-time state champion in one day and earning a spot at the coveted Meet of Champs this Saturday.
Jewell ran a 10.84 second 100 meter dash to take the win in that race before claiming first place in the 200 meter dash in 21.78 seconds. Although Jewell took third in the triple jump, he remains king in the long jump and claimed first there as well with a jump of 23 feet, 4.25 inches. He will compete on May 14 in Russellville at the Meet of Champions against first place winners of the state meets from all classifications.
The Mena boys 4×800 relay team claimed 6th place in the state meet in 8 minutes 58 seconds. The team consisted of Cross Hughes, Landon Stidman, Clint Buck, and Anthony Kennedy. Buck also competed as an individual in the 1,600 meter run where he placed 11th and the 800 meter run where he placed 7th. Stidman placed 8th in the high jump finals. William Shaner placed 9th in the 400 meter dash.
Out of 48 teams in the boys competition, Mena came out 5th overall.
In the girls’ competition, Evelyn Smith placed 13th in the 400 meter dash after helping her team of 4×400 runners take 11th. The team included Smith, Bree Sanders, Abbie Smith, and Janessa Richardson. The girls 4×800 team included E. Smith, A. Smith, Sanders, and Taylor Harper grabbed 6th place.
Aaron Pennington coaches the boys and Lantz Casteleman coaches the girls. Both coaches are already excited for next year as they each will lose one athlete, leaving experience in the team.
Acorn High School had competitors in the Class 1A Arkansas State Track Meet as well. Nathan Chaney earned 4th place in both the boys 100 meter dash and the 200 meter dash, running 11.94 and 24.81 seconds, respectively. Ethan Bird placed 6th in the 200 meter dash. Acorn’s 4×100 relay team placed 2nd with their 4×400 team taking 4th. Ashton Pardun placed 6th in the shot put.
Morgan Fagan and Kendra Branson each ran in the 3,200 meter race, placing 4th and 5th. The girls 4×400 relay team placed 2nd, as did their 4×800 relay team. Fagan also placed 2nd in the 800 meter run and 9th in the long jump. Tori Barrett placed 3rd in the discus and 1st in shot put while Teagan Vann placed 4th in the high jump. Barrett qualified for the Meet of Champions with her first place win.