A track season that has been nothing short of sensational has earned both boys and girls teams lofty rankings in the 4A State rankings.
Results of meets held within the state are required by the Arkansas Activities Association to be posted on MileSplit.com/arkansas. Like the NCAA does to determine their Collegiate Track and Field Rankings, all the high school meet results are merged and each event is scored as if it was one meet.
The defending indoor state champion Lady Blackhawk track squad is sitting on the top of the rankings with a score of 83, ahead of second ranked Robinson which has 77.
The boys, who just missed second place at the state indoor meet by a whisker, is very close to the top spot, trailing top ranked Ashdown by 4 points, 89-85. Crossett is in third place with 60.
State rankings in track and field can be very fluid. Athletes who weren't ranked at all might have a big meet and zoom up in the rankings, changing the totals. There also might be athletes with high rankings who might be or get injured who might not even be available for the state meet. Then there will be the inclusion of ninth graders into the district meets who were previously running junior high. This could alter the dynamic considerably.
The state rankings are rather a kind of barometer of how the teams are faring as they work towards the state final. Not a point is scored or a medal won until it is done at the state championship meet.
To date at least six athletes have already qualified for the state meet next month. Cooper Elliott has qualified in the 100 (10.9) as has Connor Escajeda (11.17). Elliott is also qualified in the 200 (22.64) with Escajeda breaking the time standard in the 400 (50.83). Jordan Witcher stands just 0.18 seconds away from qualifying in the 200 (23.18).
Pea Ridge has qualified a 4x400 relay for state with the 4x100 relay just 0.49 from qualifying on time. Zach Woods is just 5 inches from qualifying early in the pole vault (12'11") with Drew Winn just an inch from the standard in the high jump (6'1").
On the girls side, Shelby Dunlap has qualified in the 300 hurdles (48.79) and the triple jump (34'9"). Blakelee Winn has pre-qualified in the long jump (17'2"), 300 hurdles (49.11) and is just 0.08 from qualifying in the 100 (12.95).
Defending state pole vault champion Cassidy Mooneyhan is well over the qualifying standard of 9'0" with an 11'4" best. Freshman junior high vaulter Lauren Wright has also met the state standard with a 9'6" jump.
To certify for inclusion into the state meet, athletes can get in three ways. First, they can qualify on time/distance if they exceed the standards and the marks are properly filed. Secondly, the first two finishers in each district event are qualified, and thirdly, the AAA will invite the best five district finishers in each event from among the six district meets who were not among the top two.
With the Blackhawks boys and girls having quite a few athletes ranked in the top two from the eight 4A-1 District teams, it is likely a large contingent of athletes will be making the trek to state.
4A Girls State team rankings
1. Pea Ridge^83
14. Central Arkansas^21
16. Prairie Grove^18
17. West Fork^16
19. Heber Springs^11
4A Boys state team rankings
2. Pea Ridge^85
4. Heber Springs^55
7. Cave City^35
8. Fountain Lake^29
I never saw that before
The Razorbacks swept a three-game set with the Auburn Tigers to take the lead in the SEC West Division race. The Hogs are now 8-4 in league play, one game ahead of Mississippi at 7-5.
An odd thing happened in the game Sunday when an Auburn hitter hit a deep fly ball that just barely eluded the centerfieder's grasp to land beyond the fence. The Auburn baserunner on first thought the ball had been caught so he ran back to first, and on the way back, the batter passed him on the base path.
If a batter passes a teammate ahead of him on the bases, then he is called out. Though an argument ensued from the Tiger coach, he was ruled out and the home run erased. The runner was waved on home since he would have scored on the homer.
I have never seen that happen before. Arkansas won 5-4.
Girls softball wins a pair, boys split
The girls softball team swept a pair of conference games last week, blasting Berryville 12-2 after coming from behind to down Prairie Grove 18-13. The Lady 'Hawks had fallen behind 11-1 after three innings but came roaring back to score nine runs in the last two innings to post a wild victory. The win kept the Lady 'Hawks' league record unblemished at 7-0 with the Tigers dropping to 2-5.
The girls have a busy schedule this week, hosting Gentry on Monday, traveling to Gravette on Tuesday with a road game at Green Forest Friday.
The boys lost a 6-0 decision to Shiloh in a battle between conference undefeateds. They bounced back a few days later to trounce Prairie Grove 11-0 to stay a game and a half behind league leading Shiloh.
The boys were to travel to Gentry for a league game Monday, and are scheduled to host Elkins Wednesday in another important league battle. They are scheduled to travel to Greenland Thursday before hosting Lincoln Monday.
The girls moved up three spots in the state's Top 25 ranked teams, from seventh to fourth while the boys also improved. The baseball boys moved from 14th to 12th in the State 4A poll..
1. Pea Ridge^7-0
4. West Fork^2-1
6. Prairie Grove^2-5
1. Pea Ridge^12-3
7. Prairie Gove^2-12
4A Top 25
4. Pea Ridge^12-3^North
16. Star City^13-7^South
21. Baptist Prep^5-5^East
23. West Fork^5-4^North
3. Pea Ridge^3-1
5. Prairie Grove^2-2
9. West Fork^0-5
3. Pea Ridge^12-4
4. Prairie Grove^8-10
5. Prairie Grove^6-9
4A Top 25
10. Baptist Prep^13-6^East
12. Pea Ridge^12-4^North
16. Central Ark^9-6^East
20. Heber Springs^11-7^East
21. Star City^12-3^South
24. Fountain Lake^9-3^South
Editor's note: John McGee, an award-winning columnist, sports writer and art teacher at Pea Ridge elementary schools, writes a regular sports column for The Times. The opinions expressed are those of the author. He can be contacted through The Times at email@example.com.Sports on 04/11/2018
Print Headline: Girls track team ranks no. 1 in 4A State, boys no. 2