BENTON — It’s just the second week of the outdoor track season, but the Airline boys and Parkway girls are starting to find their form.
The Vikings and Lady Panthers both easily won at the Viking Relays in Benton Thursday.
“We are all scoring in each event right now, and that’s what we want from the team,” said Airline coach Scott Reeder, whose team finished with 165 points, well ahead of second place North DeSoto, which had 94.5 points.
“That’s a lot better than we could do last year,” Reeder said. “The boys team is doing really well. We had such bad weather last week, but today was better. We’re getting there, slowly, but surely. We should see a massive improvement when it warms up a little bit.”
Parkway won by a wide margin as well with 134 points, doubling up second place Haughton (66.5 points).
“We’re pretty excited,” Parkway coach Kent Falting said. “We did indoor with all of our distance kids, so they’ve been running for a while. Today was our first chance to get a look at our sprinters. We have a lot of sophomores and juniors who are out for the first time and helping us. Today was a pleasant surprise to start off this well.”
The Airline boys dominated in the field events, winning the long jump, triple jump, and discus. Cameron Rice was first in the long jump (21 feet, 1/2 inch) and triple jump (45 feet, 9 1/2 inches) and second in the high jump to Tamario Latin, who won by clearing a 6-foot-2 bar.
“I definitely wanted our field events to improve today, and they all have,” Reeder said. “Our shot putters improved, our jumpers improved from last week. They are all doing well and scoring points for us right now.
“Our runners have a little way to go still, but we knocked four seconds off our 4X2, our hurdlers, 400-meter guy and mile guy all knocked our times down. That is a plus. We want to sweep the jumps, score as many points there as we can. That’s where we can separate ourselves.”
While he nearly swept his events Thursday, Rice is still counting down the days to warmer weather.
“That’s when I usually do my best,” said Rice, who was the runner up at state in the Class 5A high jump and triple jump last year. “It’s still too cold for me right now. The long jump was all about form today, and I did better in the triple jump than I did this summer. I feel good about it.
“But I think I’ve lost my arch going over the bar (in the high jump). I’m starting to hit it with my butt now. I have to teach myself how to hold that arch again. Right now, I feel like it’s mental.”
Airline’s Jack Wilkes won the 1,600-meter run with a time of 4:32:73 and the 800-meter run in 2:02.91, Nick Housely won the 200-meter dash in 22.03, and Jaquavis Hart was first in the 400-meter dash (51.34).
Parkway’s Alison Ringle was first in the girls 1,600-meter run with a time of 5:20, and Rae Manning won the 200-meter dash in 27.61.
“We need to work on our relays,” Falting said. “That’s a huge focus for us this season. Last year, we didn’t do well in district and regionals in the relays.”
Airline’s Jasmyn Carswell swept the long jump, triple jump and high jump.
Next week, it will be Bossier’s turn to take over Benton’s track with the Bossier Relays on Thursday.