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story.lead_photo.caption Photographs courtesy Ranee Nunley

Heather Wade's defending state champion track team got outstanding efforts from her Lady 'Hawk athletes to overcome a lead by Magnolia out of the field events to claim another 4A State Championship trophy.

While Pea Ridge outscored Magnolia 30-1 in the jumping events, led by new state pole vault record holder Cassidy Mooneyhan and state long jump champion Blakelee Winn, the team from the Louisiana border piled up 40 points in the shot and discus to take a 41-30 lead going in the running events.

With the sophomore Winn claiming individual titles in the 100-meter hurdles, 100-meter and 200-meter dashes, Pea Ridge outscored Magnolia 57-11 in the hurdle and sprints to provide the push for final victory. Junior Mooneyhan, after setting her vault record, shocked the field in the 100-meter and 200-meter by taking a close second-place finish in each event to score 16 points. Mooneyhan wasn't projected as a top 5 finisher in either event,

"I'm very proud of all our kids stepping up to the challenge," Wade said. "We talked about how we had a target on our backs this year and it would take a group effort to win another title. They all left it on the track and Cassidy had an amazing night!"

Winn was the high scorer in the state meet, winning the 100-meter (12.36), the 200-meter 26.30, the long jump (17'5.5"), the 100-meter hurdles (15.47), and second in the 400-meter (1:00.24). She totaled 48 points, equal to the third-place team total. Mooneyhan likely scored the second most points overall at the state meet with 29. She scored via her state record victory in the pole vault (12'7"), second-place finishes in the 100-meter (12.53) and 200-meter (26.57), while also anchoring the 4x100-meter relay to second (50.86) and the 4x400-meter relay to seventh place (4:27).

Senior UALR-bound hurdler Shelby Dunlap came up big at state, claiming third in the 100-meter hurdles (16.16) after being seeded eighth, was fourth in the 300-meter hurdles (48.71), was a part of the silver medalist 4x100-meter relay and the seventh-place 4x400-meter relay. Joining Dunlap and Mooneyhan in the 4x100-meter relay were Jamison Toms and Claire Hale. Madison Smith and Olivia McCracken were with Dunlap and Mooneyhan in the 4x400-meter.

A very young 4x800-meter relay team claimed a fifth place. Freshmen Lauren Wright, Smith and Dallis White were anchored by sophomore Harmony Reynolds as they started the track events scoring for the 'Hawks. Wright also picked up a bronze medal in the pole vault, finishing with a season's best 10'2" jump. Reynolds provided needed points in the distance events, finishing sixth in the 1,600-meter (5:40.38) and seventh in the 3,200-meter (12:40.6).

Rounding out the scoring was junior Kynley Burton's fifth-place finish in the high jump at 5'2" -- the second best jump at the meet but Burton was awarded fifth after tiebreaker rules were utilized.

Coach Asa Poteete's tracksters upset the 'Hawks' projected fifth-place finish by turning in personal records to claim the second-place team trophy over pre-meet favorite DeQueen. Magnolia used depth and strength in the field events to take take the title.

Commenting on the meet, Poteete said: "Going into the meet we knew that Magnolia was going to be tough to compete with as they had 23 state qualifiers covering almost every event. We came to state with a few less events covered than anticipated, having a handful of fourth-place finishes in conference that could've potentially been points.

"We had a goal of coming home with hardware this year after coming up .5 points short last year from runner up. We knew we would need to come up with some upsets in order to score the points we would need to do this, winning the 4x100-meter was the biggest one along with Justin Koon getting third in the 300-meter hurdles.

"Cooper Elliott did exactly what we needed finishing third in 400-meter and 200-meter. We expected to win the 4x400-meter and dominated that race. We also had to have a great showing from our 4x800-meter which ended up taking off 18 seconds to bring home second and 8 points. A big performance from Zach Woods was crucial as well in pole vault. I'm so proud of him for achieving his personal record at 14 feet," Poteete said.

"What was awesome to watch as a coach was seeing these kids truly competing for each other. I cannot express how proud I am of each these boys, to go to state with 11 kids and score 75 points is a huge achievement!" Poteete said.

Pea Ridge actually outscored Magnolia 69-45 in running events but the eventual state champion outpointed the Blackhawks 51-6 in the field events to make the difference. The Blackhawks had to play catch-up and they spent the day rising in the standings all the way to second place.

Senior Hendrix-bound athlete Connor Escajeda captured a title in the 400-meters (50.44) and was a part of two state-champion relay teams. The foursome of Escajeda, Adam Trammel and brothers Patrick and Cooper Elliott blazed to an upset victory in the 4x100-meter relay, racing the oval in a sparking time of 43.2. Cooper Elliott and Escajeda then joined with Josiah Small and Shaed Cates to take the gold in the 4x400-meter relay in 3:31.9.

Cooper Elliott came on strong to capture third in the 400-meter dash in 52.34. His finish along with Escajeda's victory combined to score 16 points, a surge that pushed the 'Hawks score into position to take the runner-up trophy.

Freshman Patrick Elliott was eighth in the 100-meter finals, an honor very few freshmen get to have. Elliott also ran the anchor leg of the 4x100-meter relay, holding off the fastest sprinters in the state in a very close victory. Three-tenths of a second separated first from fifth places.

The 'Hawks had a near sweep of the relay events as the Pea Ridge was second in the 4x800-meter relay. The distance crew of Kevin Vasquez, Sander Van der Veen, Small and Cates a ran seasonal best and possibly school record time of 8:24.64.

The 'Hawks had a big performance by Justin Koon who set a personal record, improving his seed time by a second to take third in the 300-meter hurdles (41.65). Shaed Cates has a seasonal best with a 2:05.12 -- a third-place finish in the 800-meter run.

Scoring the 'Hawks' lone points in the field events was junior Zach Woods who soared over 14'0" feet to take third in a very tough pole vault competition.

Thirty-one girls teams scored in the state finals. The final standings were: Pea Ridge 115, Magnolia 93, Valley View 48, Robinson 41, Camden 38, Gravette 34, Farmington 34, Crossett 33, Batesville 31, Harrison 30, DeQueen 27, Prairie Grove 22, Nashville 16, Pocahontas 14, Brookland 10, Clarksville 10, Mena 9, Wynne 8, Forrest City 6, Ozark 6, Berryville 5, Little Rock Mills, Huntsville 4, Blytheville 4, Heber Springs 4, Shiloh 4, Warren 3, Highland 2, Arkadelphia 2, Pottsville 2, Hamburg 1 and Lonoke 1.

Twenty-nine boys teams figured in the scoring in the state finals. The final standings were: Magnolia 96, Pea Ridge 75, DeQueen 58, Nashville 54, Crossett 37, Huintsville 35, Hope 35, Forrest City 32, Gravette 30, Stuttgart 26, Pocahontas 25, Harrison 20, Gentry 18, Farmington 17, Batesville 13, Heber Springs 13, Mena 11, Star City 10, Valley View 10, Ozark 7, Little Rock Mills 6, Jonesboro Westside 6, Wynne 5, Camden 5, Clarksville 5, Dardanelle 3, Blytheville 3, Shiloh 3, Subiaco 2 and Arkadelphia 2.

Sports on 05/08/2019

Print Headline: Lady Blackhawk track takes fourth state title

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