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State Champs Repeat With 2023 Indoor Title

Posted Date: 02/21/2023

Mansfield’s title town claim continues. With the MHS Lady Tiger’s most recent performance at the 2023 ATCA Indoor State Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville on February 18, the school’s bounty of state track championship trophies increased to 14.

Mansfield High School’s senior girls indoor track and field team repeated as the combined class 1A/2A state champions. With only seven starters returning from last season’s championship team, the rebuilt roster took home the first place trophy with a 54.5 point margin of victory.

Some strong individual efforts across the Lady Tiger grade levels sent Mansfield’s team total to 137.5 points. Carlisle broke away from a tight cluster of contenders vying for second place with 83 total points. 

Mt. Ida (73) stayed in the hunt for an extended time but dropped to third place. Des Arc (55) and Magazine (54.5) followed, rounding out the classification’s top five scoring teams.

“We scouted the entries pretty hard before the Saturday’s championship event,” explained Mansfield’s long time head track coach John Mackey. “Our kids knew the scouting report. We had five teams on our radar that could be legit contenders. Our mentality has always been the same. Just do what we do and let the numbers work it out. That’s what happened and history repeated.”

The Tiger women produced value in all facets of the meet. The breakdown included 37 points in the sprints, 32.5 in the jumps, 18 in the distance events, 18 in the throws, 18 in the relays, and 14 over the hurdles.  

Mansfield carried a crew of 19 players, entered 12, scored 11, and produced 10 All-State athletes.

Sophomore Trinity Triska was the leading scorer with 28.5 points. The multi-talented player competed in a team high 6 events. She produced four third place individual scores and anchored a first and second place in relay runs.

“The experience is always an amazing feeling,” offered Triska who has now achieved All-State credentials for the second consecutive season. “I had no doubt that these girls and I could do it. To compete against higher level schools and be able to hang with them is thrilling.”

Freshman Daisy Nelson was equally amazing as she balanced Triska’s jumps, middle distance, and relay points with hurdle and sprint value. Nelson won the 60m dash, 200m dash, and came within a slip of winning the 60m hurdles for 28 points of her own.

“Daisy was terrific,” noted Mackey. “She looked like a veteran and kicked it to the next level. Proud of her and all the girls that responded to the task at hand.”

Carter Whiley was the only other Mansfield player to take an individual victory. Whiley elevated her game literally by winning the high jump with a personal record leap of 4’ 10”.

“Carter was on fire at the high jump,” explained Mackey. “Coach (Ethan) Bowman and I both knew she was feeling it. We just stayed away and let her do her thing. Her 200m at the end was fantastic as always.”

Whiley and Nelson earned All-State honors for their individual victories. Senior Jadelynn Wood also claimed All-State status for an individual event. Her’s came from a second place mark in the triple jump.

Wood’s hop, skip, and jump measured 29’ 5.5”. The measure displayed fellow jumper Triska by 2 inches and gave the eventual team champions a 14 boost near the night’s end. 

Wood placed third in the 60m hurdles, sixth in the long jump, and seventh in the 400m dash. She too held a maxed out schedule with relay duties finishing off her formula.

“It definitely feels good to win even though I feel like I could have done better,” spoke the emotionally charged Wood competing at her last indoor state finals. “I’m still proud of myself and my teammates for everything we did. It was definitely a tough day and emotions played a very important part.”

Wood was one of three seniors to compete at their last indoor track event. Seven Sanderson and Skylynn Harris were the others.

Leading the team as seniors are expected, the trio each earned All-State honors based upon their individual performances. In Sanderson and Harris’s case, those credentials came via the shot put ring.

Harris was sitting on top of the shot put standings with a meet best 32’ 7” toss until teammate Sanderson got the last attempt and bettered the mark by two inches. The pair went 1-2 in the only throwing event included in the indoor schedule for a momentum building 18 points.

Freshman Kaylee Ward, who approaches her teammate’s best throwing efforts, was held out of competition due to player limitations. The ATCA games committee had a 2 player entry limit. Ward, a rising star in several sports, would have undoubtedly given Mansfield gold, silver, and bronze in the shot.

Remarkably, Mansfield's senior throwers have owned the indoor event since their freshman season. Harris won in 2020. The pandemic canceled the 2021 campaign. Then Sanderson won in 2022 and 2023.

“It’s a great feeling to be able to come and win my event for two consecutive years, knowing I did my best,” spoke an excited Sanderson. “It’s an even better feeling to earn back to back indoor state championships. Everyone put in the work and did their part. It paid off.”

Mansfield’s only other senior to travel with the team was Saylor Steward. Steward recently joined the program and was still in training mode prior to the state finals and did not compete.

In the relay events, both Lady Tiger cooperatives finished top two. As a result, each relay member earned All-State certificates. 

The combination of Azlynn Stover, Raine Hecox, Laney Wood, and Trinity Triska took the podium in the 4x800m relay. 

Addie Bowman, Laney Wood, Jadelynn Wood, and Trinity Triska finished off the exhausting 10 hour day with a second place 4x400m finish.

“Azlynn was the first Mansfield athlete on the track,” said Mackey. “On a day that included 1,400 athletes, 85 schools, and 6 classifications, she was so steady. It really set the tone and brought the moment into focus.”

Laney Wood scored 11 of Mansfield’s distance points. Ashley Martin and Summer Frazier completed the distance team.

After the trophy presentations for all 6 classifications, Mansfield followed a well rehearsed routine. A team picture was taken against the Razorback wall, individuals got their chance with the trophy, and the seniors took a victory lap with their coach.

“The senior walk was something I’ve dreamt about since I was a freshman but actually doing it was so much different than watching it,” revealed Jadelynn Wood. “It’s definitely hard to know that my track career is coming to an end even though indoor is just the beginning of the season.”

Sanderson confirmed a similar sentiment to that of her senior classmate.

“Coming off the senior walk was both happy and sad,” allowed Sanderson. I was happy for the victory but sad to know this was the last time we would compete at indoor with this team and with Coach Mackey.”



Mansfield’s senior girls track team wins the 2023 Arkansas Track Coaches Association Indoor State Championship!!


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