COACH Randy Ramaker
LAST YEAR’S FINISH Took second place at the Class 7A state meet with 112 points.
KEY PLAYERS Katie Andrews (Sr.), Sophie Quandt (Sr.), Lainey Quandt (Soph.), Victoria Mitchell (Sr.), Isabel Neal (Jr.)
TOP NEWCOMERS Tori Willis (Soph.), Sydney Suggs (Fr.)
THE SKINNY The distance races are usually the Lady Tigers’ strength, and this year should be no exception.
Andrews won the 3,200-meter run, while Krista Herlin and Alex Mastorides placed in the top eight in the event, while Alexis Doyle just missed. Meanwhile, Mitchell is the defending state champ in the 800, while Sophie Quandt and Trinity Walker placed in the top eight. Walker and the Quandt sisters should make for a quality 4×800 relay team.
The addition of Willis should strength Bentonville’s grip on the distance events. The sophomore was the Class 1A state champion in the 1,600 and runnerup in the 3,200 last spring with Haas Hall Bentonville, and she proved her value in cross country by winning the Class 7A state individual girls title in the fall.
Pole vault is also one event where the Lady Tigers expect to score highly. Isabel Neal and Chloe Christian gave Bentonville a two-three finish in that event, while Skyler Owens took seventh.
Ramaker hopes to see good things from Mary Cawood and Avery Hughes in the triple jump, Alexis Johnson in the long jump.
The sprints may be a work in progress throughout the season, with the highest returning scorer being Baylee Barganier (fourth in the 400) and Hughes in the 100 hurdles. Suggs could provide points in the jumps and in the middle sprints, but Ramaker said his team will have to start from scratch in the throws with nobody returning.
KEY DATES March 10 — first full meet with the Whitey Smith Relays in Rogers; April 6 — Joe Roberts Relays in Springdale, the first meet scheduled after spring break. April 27 — 7A-West Conference meet in Fayetteville.