Some State Records In Jeopardy

No matter how good the track and field performances have been this season, they won’t be acknowledged as state records — unless those performances are done this week during the state track meets.

It’s a simple guideline the Arkansas Activities Association has gone by for years. So now that we’ve reached the state meets, what are the records most likely to be broken?

Granted, we won’t know what the weather conditions will be like when the meets are done, but here’s a look at the records that could have a chance to be rewritten:

Class 7A

Look none other than the boys pole vault.

Springdale Har-Ber senior Zach McWhorter set the meet record last year at 16 feet, 9 inches and had 17 feet cleared before a celebration may have caused the bar to fall. McWhorter cleared 17-0 during last week’s 7A-West meet, and will be competing on his home track.

NWA Democrat-Gazette/ANDY SHUPE Zach McWhorter of Har-Ber celebrates Thursday, April 27, 2017, after clearing 17 feet in the pole vault during the Class 7A West Outdoor Track and Field Meet at the Fayetteville track and field complex. Visit nwadg.com/photos to see more photographs from the meet.
NWA Democrat-Gazette/ANDY SHUPE
Zach McWhorter of Har-Ber celebrates Thursday, April 27, 2017, after clearing 17 feet in the pole vault during the Class 7A West Outdoor Track and Field Meet at the Fayetteville track and field complex. Visit nwadg.com/photos to see more photographs from the meet.

If he clears 17-0 again, he will like go for 17-3.5 again like he did last week. A big obstacle, however, is he may also have to compete in the long jump and the 110-meter hurdles again in a short time span.

Others to watch: Boys high jump, if Rogers High’s Jake Benninghoff can get over the 7-feet mark and girls shot put, where Fayetteville’s Jasmine Franklin’s best performance of 43-3 this year is just 5 inches from the state mark held by Roshendeda Ross of Texarkana in 1991.

Class 6A

Based on this year’s performances, these state records — many of them shared with Class 7A before they split into two classes — appear to be safe.

The closest one to being in danger is the girls pole vault. Edie Murray of Lake Hamilton has cleared 12-8, and the state record is 13-0.5 set by Lake Hamilton’s Stephanie Foreman in 2008.

Class 5A

Nettleton’s Rachel Milnes almost shares the same situation McWhorter has.

She set the state record last year when she cleared 11-10, and she’s already surpassed that, having cleared a state-best 13-2 this year.

She can get that out of the way early because the girls pole vault starts in the morning at Harrison, but how many other events will she do that day?

Another one to keep an eye on during the meet will be the boys 4×800-meter relay, which the current mark is 8 minutes, 5.68 seconds by Helena-West Helena Central in 2007. Harrison’s team has the state’s best time of 8 minutes, 5.40 seconds at last week’s 5A-West Conference meet, and the Goblins will attempt to break it on their home track.

Class 4A

Lonoke’s Gracie Hyde could be the owner of three state records after Tuesday’s meet in Pocahontas if she has enough energy to do all three distance races.

She has the state’s best time in the 3,200 at 11:14.38 — easily surpassing the 11:53.50 set by Gravette’s Melissa Pollreis in 2006. Her time of 5:04.94 in the 1,600 is easily better than the state record of 5:23.50 set by Pulaski Academy’s Kelsey Hatcher in 2005, and she has an 800 time of 2:18.23, where the state record is 2:18.13 set by Atkins’ Dawnyell Fletcher in 2000.

Meanwhile, Hamburg’s Tiana Wilson could break two records. She has a state-best 11.90 seconds in the 100, while the record is 12.22 set by Crossett’s Kelsey Herman in 2013, and her 200 time is 24.60 while Herman also holds that record at 24.81.

There could be a wild card in the 3,200 if Hyde opts out of that race. Prairie Grove’s Bekah Bostian could also break Pollreis’ mark, having a season-best time of 11:40.08.

Another one to watch could be the girls triple jump. Pulaski Robinson’s Asia Anderson set the state record last year at 38-3.25, and she returns with a season-best 38 feet this year.

Class 3A

Here’s another case where the current state record holder may get to do it again. Only this time, he might have some company.

Harding Academy’s Bryce Wiedower has a personal-best time of 1:57.34 in the boys 800 — more than 3 seconds faster than the state record time of 2:00.42 he set last year. However, he might need his best to retain his spot in the record book because Jessieville’s Noah Eskew has a season-best 800 time of 1:58.48 — also enough to break the record.

Eskew also poses a threat to two more state records in this classification. He has a season-best time of 4:24.00 in the 1,600 — better than the current mark of 4:28.17 set by Christian Heymsfield of Elkins in 2012, and his 3,200 time this year is a state-best 9:38.55 while Heymsfield also has the current state record time of 9:48.73.

Tyler Moreland of Genoa Central could rewrite the 3A state record book in the hurdles this year if he can duplicate what he did in conference meets last week. He turned in times of 14.30 in the 110s — better than the state-record time of 14.88 by Earl Byrd of Rivercrest in 2010 — and his 300 time was 38.30, while the record is 40.06 by Prescott’s Dean Accor in 2007.

Meanwhile, two athletes on the same team could break the boys high jump mark. Dylan Western and Mark Byers, both of Bald Knob, have cleared 6-6, and the state record is 6-5 set by Green Forest’s Wesleigh Kilbourn in 2010.

Also keep in eye on the boys long jump, where Junction City’s C.J. Johnson has gone 22-7 and tied the mark set in 2012 by Fordyce’s Markiel Bulliner.

There are girls records in danger as well. The current 100 mark is 12.37 set by Robyn Byrd of Fordyce and three girls — Antwonette Laster of Gurdon (11.90), Sara Tedford of Genoa Central (12.00) and Haleigh Wiley of Prescott (12.00) — all surpassed that mark last week.

Meanwhile, Paris’ Ashten Swanson is close to the state record in the 200 with her time of 26.00 seconds, while Byrd set the record last year at 25.96. In the 4×100 relay, Mansfield set the state record at 50.94 in 2010, but Lake Village turned in a time of 49.78 in a meet earlier this season.

Two field events also have a chance to have records broken. Rivercrest’s Sydney Lane set the high jump mark at 5-4.5 last year and has already cleared 5-6 this spring, while in the discus the record of 120-11 set by Kelby Harness of Green Forest last year could be surpassed by two people — Eden Crow of Genoa Central (season-best 123-11) and Liz Fouts of Harding Academy (122-2).

Class 2A

Matthew Standridge of Caddo Hills set the boys Class 1A pole vault record last year, and he gets the chance to do it in a second classification this time around.

Standridge has cleared a season-best 15-4 in the pole vault this springs, and the state record is 15-1 by Mount Ida’s Andrew Lee Irvin in 2011.

The other boys state record in jeopardy is the triple jump, where Lafayette County’s Dewayne Cornish has a personal-best 46-0. The state record is 45-6 by England’s B.J. Thompson, who is competing again this year and could push Cornish for the mark.

A Caddo Hills pole vaulter could also break the girls state record in this class. Kayla Torbett has cleared 12-2 this spring, and the state record is 11-8 set by Centerpoint’s Brandie Plyler in 2001.

Class 1A

Standridge’s record that was mentioned earlier? Yes, it could be one of those short-lived ones.
Trinity Christian’s Rhett Nelson has cleared 15-0.25 this spring. If he can duplicate or exceed that performance, it would break Standridge’s mark of 15-0.

Henry Apple

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.
Henry Apple

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