Friday, March 9, 2018
SPRINGDALE -- What might have been Northwest Arkansas' best track and field rivalry this spring isn't likely to materialize.
Springdale Har-Ber senior Payton Copher and Bentonville West junior Jadon Jackson were one-two in the 60-meter dash during the recent state indoor meet and appeared ready to continue that into the outdoor campaign. Copher, however, recently had shoulder surgery, and Har-Ber coach Wayne Hall said his sprinter may not get a chance to run this season.
At A Glance
Joe Roberts Relays
at Springdale Har-Ber
Team Scores — 1. Bentonville High 148; 2. Springdale Har-Ber 124; 3. Bentonville West 101; 4. Fayetteville 98.5; 5. Rogers High 65; 6. Springdale High 34.5; 7. Rogers Heritage 27.5; 8. Farmington 25.5; 9. Siloam Springs 22; 10. Gentry 15; 11. Greenland 2.
Team Scores — 1. Bentonville High 169; 2. Rogers High 141; 3. Fayetteville 101; 4. Springdale Har-Ber 67; 5. Bentonville West 66; 6. Rogers Heritage 53; 7. Springdale High 21; 8. Gentry 16; 9. (tie) Siloam Springs and Farmington 7; 11. Greenland 6; 12. Ozark 3.
That left Jackson by himself Thursday as he ran in the Joe Roberts Relays at Har-Ber's track. Jackson pulled off a pair of wins in the sprints, then helped the Wolverines take the 4x100 relay title during the first full outdoor meet.
"He pushes me all the time," Jackson said of Copher. "I love running against the guy. He's really competitive, but he's also one of those guys you love running against. I just hope the best recovery for him. I just have to get focused and do the best I can
Jackson turned in a time of 11.01 in the 100, while Bentonville High's Jadyn Loudermilk took second at 11.18. It was the same type of finish in the 200 as Jackson won with a 22.69 time to Loudermilk's 22.95.
Shortly after his win in the 100, Jackson returned to the track to run in the 4x100. He and teammates Tyreese Smallwood, Victor Onyebueke and Miguel Silveria had a time of 43.03, more than .8 seconds faster than second-place Har-Ber.
"I just tried to get out and separate myself from the other guys," Jackson said. "Then I wanted to coast in so I could save myself for the 4x100. I think I can get it down to a 10.9 in the next two or three meets."
Meanwhile, Jasmine Franklin picked up right where she left off last season, despite very limited practice time. The Fayetteville senior, the two-time defending state champion in the shot put, won that event with a toss of 40 feet, 3.5 inches -- 6 inches off the distance she threw to win the state title.
Franklin, also the defending state champ in the discus, claimed her second victory in the meet with a throw of 130-7, slightly more than 6 feet shorter than last year's distance at the state meet. Gentry's Chastery Fuamatu, the defending Class 4A state champ in the discus and runner-up in the shot put, finished second in both events.
"Jasmine has been a big part of what we have done the last three to four years," Fayetteville coach Drew Yoakum said. "She's always set the bar high in the throws, and that's what she did. Hopefully we can work from that. She has some high goals and we hope she can reach them this year."
It was a Bentonville High sweep for the team titles. Bentonville's boys, with coach Mike Power and sprinter Devin Dougherty gone to New York for the New Balance Indoor Nationals this weekend, compiled 148 points to Har-Ber's 124, while West edged Fayetteville for third place by a 101-98.5 margin.
Bentonville's girls, on the other hand, built up 169 points to 141 for second-place Rogers High. The Lady Tigers were led by sophomore Syndey Suggs, who won high-point honors with 31.5 points with a win in the long jump (17-8) and helped her team win the 4x400 relay (4:07.31), and Avery Hughes, who compiled 22 points with a pair of second-place finishes in the 100 and 300 hurdles and a third in the triple jump.
"We have a pretty solid team across the board," Bentonville girls coach Randy Ramaker said. "What I mean by that is we don't have a lot of glaring weaknesses, which is good. If those girls can all produce in their events, we're a good team.
"In the first full meet of the year, it's nice to see that happen for the most part. We had some young, young kids running well. We had a freshman girl run 2:20 in the 800. We had two freshmen in the 4x100 relay team that run a 50.8. We had two freshmen place in the 100 and two freshmen place in the high jump. So the young kids did really well."
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