All posts by Henry Apple

Henry Apple is a veteran sports reporter for the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. His primary beat is Bentonville and Bentonville West, as well as topics that include state schools and the Arkansas Activities Association. During the spring, he handles high school track in Northwest Arkansas. He is a lifelong Arkansas resident.

Second Time Around — Bentonville West 2017 Season Preview

Bentonville West's volleyball team may have caught some by surprise when its inaugural season was capped by a trip to the Class 7A state tournament.

While the Lady Wolverines cherished the moment at the time, it just meant the stakes were raised a little higher for the second season.

"Making it into the state tournament in our first year was good for us," West coach Julie Rowan said. "So now, they've been talking about not having that sophomore slump. Last year, Everything positive was positive. Unfortunately, this year the expectation is so much higher.

"We can't use the excuse … Continue Reading ››

Unfinished Business — Bentonville High 2017 Season Preview

The battle cry for Bentonville High's volleyball team this season can be found on the top of the Lady Tigers' schedule.

It simply reads "Unfinished Business," and coach Michelle Smith traces its origin to the end of last season, when Bentonville suffered a second-round loss to North Little Rock in the Class 7A state tournament.

"Our seniors didn't have the season last year that they felt they should have had," Smith said. "We underachieved a lot of times. As a coaching staff, we pulled out all the stops, and we were dumbfounded at the state tournament. We were speechless and … Continue Reading ››

Bentonville West 2017 Season Preview

Bentonville West's boys tennis team started from scratch last summer and came away with its first all-state performer when Hayden Shoemake finished fourth in singles play during the Class 7A state tournament.

The sophomore now becomes the foundation the Wolverines can build upon as they begin their second season.

NWA Democrat-Gazette/J.T. WAMPLER Hayden Shoemake of Bentonville West earned all-state honors last year — the school's first — and will be the foundation for this year's Wolverine tennis team. NWA Democrat-Gazette/J.T. WAMPLER Hayden Shoemake of Bentonville West earned all-state … Continue Reading ››

Bentonville West 2017 Season Preview

The second time around should provide a smoother transition for Bentonville West's golf teams this fall, but it won't come without its share of challenges.

For instance, Wolverines coach Curt Yarrington had to cut players off his boys team before the season started.

"I'm carrying 15 boys," Yarrington said. "That aspect of it, as far as evaluating, has been a little harder. Of course, that's the worst part of coaching is making cuts, no matter what the sport."

West has four of its top players return from the inaugural, and that group is led by Sam O'Brien. The junior took part in last … Continue Reading ››

Bentonville High Golf Preview

Bentonville High's girls golfers appeared to be headed toward a rebuilding phase this fall.

The Lady Tigers lost three starters from last year's state runnerup team, including Class 7A state individual champion Kate Robertson and all-state player Maddie Weston. If that wasn't enough, there weren't any girls trying out to fill those voids and left the numbers even smaller.

Lilly Thomas, who won the individual title at the Lady Wildcat Invitational, has been a welcome addition to Bentonville's girls golf team since moving from Heber Springs. Lilly Thomas, who … Continue Reading ››

A Glance Into Helena-West Helena Central’s Recent Conference Moves

The Arkansas Activities Association's board of directors denied Helena-West Helena Central's appeal Sunday afternoon to remain a member of the 4A-2 Conference during the 2018-20 reclassification cycle.

The AAA board of directors normally meets to hear such appeals just before the AAA holds its annual meeting of the governing body, which takes place at noon Monday in Little Rock.

Central will now move into the 4A-8 Conference for the next two years. The school wanted to remain in the 4A-2 and have Stuttgart make the move to the 4A-8.

From 2000-07, Central remained a member of a Southeast conference (4A-Southeast through 2005, while … Continue Reading ››