The Highland Rebels made it three championships in a row at the Bomber Relays, receiving 45 points from Arkansas Razorback football signee Deon Stewart and 34.5 more from Arkansas State football signee Avery Johnson in coasting to 183 team points to win the meet Monday at Bomber Stadium.
Highland — which has won the meet every year since 2012, which was the last time the host Bombers won — easily outdistanced second place Harrison, which had 109.5 points, while Green Forest was third with 84, Melbourne was fourth with 77 and the host Bombers were fifth with 70 points.
Harrison cruised to an easy win in the girls’ standings, racking up 225 points — 40 by high scorer Natalie Ward.
The Lady Bombers finished a distant second with 127 points, holding off Green Forest with 123. Highland was fourth and Valley Springs fifth.
“We’re seeing personal bests every week,” Mountain Home head track and field coach Philip Goodwin said. “Some are kids that may be in softball or soccer and they’re in limited amounts. I’m excited about what I’m seeing with our kids stepping up to bat and going to work and earning what I think is a good opportunity to finish high at conference.”
Before the conference meet, however, the Bombers and Lady Bombers will travel to Heber Springs on Friday.
“That’s a very competitive meet,” said Goodwin. “I’ve seen in the past, teams from Lake Hamilton, Fort Smith, Crossett, you name it. They have great facilities and run a good meet. With conference coming up, it’s a great test to see where we are this point in the season.”
The Lady Bombers did not have any first-place finishes, but distance runner Rebecca McGough placed second to Ward in the 1600-meter run and third, behind Ward and Kindall Richardson of Harrison, in the 800.
Whitney Settlemire garnered 16 points with second-place finishes in the shot put and discus for Mountain Home, while Brianna Trevino placed second in the high jump.
“Our jumpers and vaulters are coming on, and our throwers have been strong,” Goodwin said. “Of course, our distance kids are always phenomenal. This year, we have, on the girls’ side, more sprinters than in the past. We have Ana Helmert from soccer and Katie Strain from softball, and we’re looking forward to bringing up some freshmen, like Riley Walker.
“Our boys have been pretty consistent,” he added, “and we’ve seen some PRs last week at West Plains. The cold weather might have hampered that tonight.”
Harrison’s Ebony Mitchell won the girls’ 100-meter dash, while Stewart cruised to an 11.04 finish to win the boys’ event. Harrison’s Jordan Wallis won the girls’ 200, while Stewart broke away down the stretch to phenomenal 22.26 to win the boys’ race. Yellville-Summit’s Justina Jenkins placed fourth in the 100 and 200.
Harrison’s Ashtyn Mealer won the girls’ 400, while Mountain Home’s Chloe Freeland and Kylie Beshears placed second and fourth, respectively. Green Forest’s Brandon Hogan won the boys’ 400.
While Ward edged out McGough in both the 800 and 1600, Mountain Home’s Mackenzie Mohler placed fifth in the 1600. Harrison’s Seth Waters won the boys’ 1600, while Mountain Home’s Bryston Hickman was fifth.
Ward made it a sweep in the distance events with a 13:15.56 in the 3200, while Waters won the boys’ race and Bryston Hickman and Reece Hickman were third and sixth, respectively.
Ward’s expertise wasn’t limited to distance events, winning the 100 hurdles in 17.09 seconds. Johnson won the boys’ 110 hurdles in 15.86, holding off Melbourne’s Dalton Romero and Izard County’s Kyle Lebouef. Harrison’s Allyson Patton held off Mountain Home’s Helmert in the 300 hurdles, while Romero won the boys’ event.
In the relay events, Harrison won all three girls’ relays, while Highland won two of three boys’ races. Mountain Home’s team of Lane Alexander, David Byrd, Hunt Nosari and Bryston Hickman won the 4×800 relay in 9:04.57, holding off Harrison.
Highland’s team of Stewart, Johnson, Kevin French and William French won the 4×100 in 45.04 seconds, and the Rebels’ relay of Stewart, William French, Preston Gurley and Matthew Mattox won the 4×400.
Mountain Home’s girls’ team of Strain, Desiree Mitchell, Helmert and Taylor Collins finished second behind Harrison in the 4×100, while the Lady Bombers team of Beshears, Lexi Coroch, Freeland and Trevino finished second to Harrison in the 4×400. Mountain Home’s team of Haven Stumon, Alex Carlisle, Zoe Parsons and Maddy Lewis placed third in the 4×800.
In the high jump, Wallis won the girls’ event at 4 feet, 8 inches, while Trevino was second and Jenkins fifth. Johnson won the boys’ event at 6-0, while Cotter’s Taran Eaton was sixth.
Harrison’s Alex Gipson won the girls’ pole vault, while Stumon was third. Green Forest’s Trace Delozier won the boys’ vault, while Cotter’s Judah Wiggins was fifth.
Green Forest went 1-2 in the girls’ long jump with Jennifer Newberry and Francella Villanueva. Newberry also won the triple jump at 31-09, with Villanueva third and Mountain Home’s Ashley Pyeatt fourth.
Stewart long jumped 22-03 and triple jumped 42-04, both winning first place. Romero was second in the long jump and third in the triple jump, while Johnson placed fourth in the triple jump for the Rebels.
In throwing events, Green Forest’s Kelby Harness won the girls’ shot put and discus. Settlemire, Brandee Strain and Desiree Mitchell went 2-3-5 in the shot put, while Settlemire, Mitchell and Strain were 2-3-6 in the discus.
Mountain Home’s Darrell Ashworth won the boys’ shot put at 44-06, while Dawson Henderson was fourth. Ashworth also won the discus at 119-04.