Airline’s Jaquvis Hart worked out Tuesday afternoon, preparing like he has for every track and field meet the Vikings have participated in this year.
While the Vikings hope their preparation and execution are consistent, the stakes are higher.
The top three finishers, and relay teams, in each event of today’s Class 5A regional meet at Lee Hedges Stadium will be heading to Baton Rouge for the state meet on May 4.
“Nothing has changed,” Hart said. “We are ready, but the only thing we can control is us. We just have to do what we’ve been doing.”
Benton High School, which swept the boys and girls district championships last week, is hosting the Class 4A regional meet today.
“Getting to state is one of the hardest things to do in high school athletics,” Benton coach Scott Carroway said. “You have to be focused for three straight weeks and be mistake free in the two qualifying meets. But we have a lot of kids who went to state last year, and they understand what it takes.”
The Class 2A regional will start at 1 p.m. today at ULM. Both the 4A and 5A regionals feature the top finishers from District 1, 2 and 3 meets last week.
Hart edged Parkway’s Cory Hamilton by .01 in the 400-meter run last week in Haughton with a time of 48.60. Hamilton had run a 47.7 earlier in the season.
“I was really surprised to win,” Hart said. “We both congratulated each other when we crossed the finish line. Neither of us knew who had won. I just wanted to stay with him the entire race, and then in the last 100 see who was going to win.”
Hart and Hamilton are the top two seeds in today’s 400-meter run by nearly two seconds and will likely battle again in one of many races that should be close.