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Clinton senior's experience pays off for early advantage

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Photographs by Mitchell PE Masilun

Johnaya Givens of Little Rock Parkview jumped 18 feet, 4 1/2 inches to win the long jump at the state high school heptathlon Wednesday at Cabot High School. Givens finished the day in second place behind Clinton’s Allie Hensley.

CABOT -- Allie Hensley knows the drill at the state high school heptathlon.

The Clinton senior finished fifth as a sophomore in 2015 and third as a junior in 2016, and entered this year's heptathlon as one of the top athletes in the event once again.

She's in front after day one Wednesday of the 20th annual competition with 2,517 points after earning third-place finishes in the 100-meter hurdles (15.76) and the discus (101 feet, 6 1/2 inches).

"I'm just doing what I normally do," said Hensley, a Class 3A state champion this season in the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles and long jump. "I'm just trying to do my best."

Hensley, who will attend Arkansas State University on a track and field scholarship, competes in five events at most meets, so the heptathlon -- four events the first day, three on the second -- is an event she loves being in, she said.

And used to.

"Experience definitely helps," Hensley said. "Just knowing when to warm up for your event. Just knowing how things roll."

Little Rock Parkview junior Johnaya Givens is second with 2,378 points, followed by Maumelle junior Claire Luallen (2,368).

Rounding out the top 10 are Vilonia's Ally Swaim (2,281), Springdale Har-Ber's Reaghan Smithpeters (2,263), Mills' Sydney Griffo (2,243), Pocahontas' Natalie Toney (2,238), Russellville's Tamera Rhode (2,225), Rogers' Ashlyne Silcott (2,200) and Maumelle's Najada Rochell (2,125).

Luallen won the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.04 and earned 836 points. Swaim was second at 15.40 and Hensley was third.

Givens jumped 18 feet, 4 1/2 inches to win the long jump, picking up 729 points. El Dorado's Breya Clark was second (16-11.50) and was followed by Griffo (16-10.50)

Genoa Central's Eden Crow had the top discus throw for the second consecutive year in the heptathlon with a throw of 110 feet, 2 1/2 inches. Crow, who also was the Class 3A state champion this season in the discus, earned 531 points. Gentry's Chastery Fuamatu was second (109-4.25) and Hensley was third.

Smithpeters won the 200-meter dash in 25.87, earning 809 points. Rhode was second (28.89) and Rochell was third (26.09).

The heptathlon resumes at 10 a.m. with three events, the high jump, shot put and the 800.

Hensley finished behind Jada Baylark of Little Rock Parkview and Asia Anderson of Joe T. Robinson last year, but is hoping for a different outcome this year.

"I just want to keep doing what I normally do," Hensley said. "Not screwing up anything up in those three events. I hope to get better in shot put, because I'm not too muscular. It takes some work."

Sports on 05/18/2017

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