photo by JAMIE MITCHELL
Van Buren’s RJ Pester clears the bar at 5 feet, 10 inches on his first attempt on Friday during the high jump event at the Airedale Relays in Alma.
Sprint events outnumbered distance runs at the Airedales Relays on Friday, like they do at most meets. Had it been flipped, though, the girls side would have had a different winner.
Instead, Southside rode its dominating short-race performance to a first-place overall finish with 149.50 points. Van Buren’s long-distance runners, which did just about as well Southside’s sprinters, led the Lady Pointers to second, 47.50 points behind.
Van Buren milers Logan Edwards and Madi Chitwood took first and third in that event, while Maria Valente and Sage Mackin — the other half of the squad’s 4x800 relay team — took first and second in the two-mile. Those four combined in the relay to finish in second place.
Edwards and Chitwood were happy with their days and noted the mind-games tracksters often use helped motivate them.
“The girl that was behind me from Poteau, she told me (before the race) her time was 5:48. And I was like ‘Okay, I haven’t ran that this year, I’m kind of stressed out,’” Edwards said. “Me and Madi wanted to stay together and use her, as motivation, toward the end.”
Edwards eclipsed her season’s personal best in that race, the mile, with a winning 5:44.15 time. Poteau’s Bond was inches behind at 5:44.92 and Chitwood came in third at 5:53.46.
In the 3,200-meter run, Valente won the event while Mackin was second.
Maria Santillana won the shot put (37 feet, 5.5 inches) and was third in the discus (95-11.75), and Bailey Gossett placed third in the shot put (32-11.5).
Serena Shores finished second in the 100 and fifth in the 100-meter hurdles.
Alma won the boys title easily, too, finishing with 134 points. It was 29 more points than second-place Northside. Tres Rowland, who finished with the most points in the boys events, scored top-five finishes in four events, including three first-places. He captured first in the 110-meter hurdles, the 300-meter hurdles and ran the second leg as Alma won the night’s last event, the 4x400-meter relay.
“He’s really kind of the guy that has been solid for us all year long,” Alma coach Tom McMurray said. “His hurdle races are getting better and better. I think he qualified tonight in the 300s for the state meet. He’s a good kid and you like to see good things happen to good people.”
Alma was lifted by its field events.
Michael Nicholson won first in the discus and Brad Hurst won the shot put. Hurst also finished third in the discus, while Nicholson finished second in the shot put. Besides Rowland’s fourth-place finish in the long jump, Jake Marrs took fourth in the triple jump and sixth in the long jump. Landon Hogue and Lane Inge took fourth and fifth in the high jump.
Tyler Newman finished third in the 110- and was eighth in the 300-meter hurdles.
Tyler Mlakar was fourth in the pole vault.
It made for a happy coach after the lights went down at the end of the night.
“Our conference has won the state track meet five of the last six years, I think. It’s either been us or Vilonia. They’re the team that we’re having to kind of chase. And we haven’t seen them this year so it’s kind of the unknown,” McMurray said. “But our kids keep improving. That’s what we’re shooting for. The kids are working hard. We’re trying to get ourselves in a position to where we’re going to be able to contend for the conference.”
Emily Estes grabbed third in the long jump, eighth in the 100 and the 200.
Ivy Connor nabbed sixth in the 800.
Rachel Ray grabbed first in the 300- and second in the 100-meter hurdles and sixth in the 200.
Julia Kovarovic finished eighth in the 400.
Cadi Morrison was also eighth in the pole vault.
Taylor Short took eighth in the triple jump.
Alma placed fourth in the 1,600-meter relay.
Allie Arnold nabbed seventh in the 100- and eighth in the 300-meter hurdles.
Tyler Jensen clinched second in the 800, while Clarke Henson placed fifth in the 800.
Dominic Guillen nabbed seventh in the pole vault.
In the triple jump, R.J. Pester was seventh and John Barton was eighth.
Van Buren nabbed fifth in the 1,600-meter relays and seventh in the 400 relays.
Ryan Carlson placed fifth in the 400.
Hunter Burkhart was fifth in the 300- and eighth in the 110-meter hurdles.
Brooks Langdon was fifth in the shot put and Chandler Nicholson was sixth.
Christian Vesquez was sixth in the 1,600.
Landon Brigance nabbed sixth in the 200 and eighth in the 100.
Placing eighth for Van Buren was Jared Pineau in the 800, Heath Friddle in the long jump and Will Deputy in the discus.
Alma won the 1,600-meter relays, third in the 3,200 relays and was fifth in the 400 relays.
Kendall Pittman was fifth in the 200, sixth in both the 100 and the 110-meter hurdles, and was eighth in the high jump.
Abraham Hernandez grabbed fifth in the triple jump and eighth in the 400.
Cruz Rhea finished seventh in the discus.