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State Champs Celebrate at 2023 Ring Ceremony

Posted Date: 09/11/2023


It had been nearly 7 months since Mansfield won the 2023 ATCA Indoor Track and Field State Championship. The long wait for the delivery of the team’s state championship rings was finally completed on Saturday, September 9. In an intimate gathering of family and friends at the high school, the MHS Lady Tiger track team finally slipped on the spoils of their award winning season.

On February 18, the Lady Tiger track program brought home their 14th state track championship. This most recent title came at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville at the ATCA Indoor State Track and Field Championships. If you include all Mansfield athletic programs, this was the 27th overall state championship won by the school.

A rebuilt track roster, much different from the distance oriented state championship team from last season, took first place at the indoor finals with 137.5 points. Strong individual places and outstanding relay efforts put Mansfield easily ahead of second place Carlisle.

Mansfield carried an indoor track team of 19 players, scored 11, and produced 10 indoor All-State performers.

During the outdoor season, Mansfield sent 25 players to the conference championships hosted by the Tigers on May 2. In that 2A-4 district meet, Mansfield easily won the district title for the 17th time in the last 20 years of competition. The Lady Tigers scored 328 points, earned 13 All-District spots, and used a full roster for only the second time of the season. 

From there, Mansfield advanced to outdoor state finals in Quitman in 14 of 18 events. Qualification standards reduced the roster once more. Only the 13 All-District qualifiers competed at the outdoor finals. Those competing used victories in the 4x100m relay and discus along with strong finishes in the sprints, hurdles, throws, and jumps to take the class 2A state runner-up trophy.

Out of 29 scoring schools, it came down to Mansfield and two-time defending Champion Yellville-Summit for the title. Yellville’s experience and depth won out. Still, Mansfield scored 82.5 points and registered 6 All-State performers. Five of which moved on to the prestigious Meet of Champs while 2 others continued to the state heptathlon.

At Saturday evening’s festivities, attendees were treated with a buffet style dinner before a 20 minute highlight video of the season was presented. Immediately following the video presentation a group of six junior high volunteers marched the trophies and rings onto the stage.

“The ring march may have been the coolest part of the evening,” said recently retired Mansfield head track coach John Mackey. “Travis (Pettus) our sound expert arranged for some awesome, upbeat music to escort those six kids into the room. It really built up the anticipation and added to the show.”

Seventh grader CJ Nelson, the younger brother of All-State sprinter Daisy Nelson, brought in the boxes of state championship rings. He was wearing a black t-shirt sporting the words “Ring Security”. 

The younger Nelson was preceded by five junior high track girls. Each carried a state trophy associated with the career winnings of this particular 2023 senior high track team. Each of the girls, adorned in either a red or black semi-formal dress, paraded the trophies along the perimeter of the room for all to view before placing the accolades upon the awards table atop the stage.

Adeline Bray, Miley Clopton, Addison Howard, Annabelle Martin, and Abby Smith were the future track stars that helped make the special delivery along with CJ Nelson.

“It was good to get some of the younger people involved,” expressed Mackey. “These kids look up to these champions. They are hungry for their own future success. These are the type of student-athletes that will keep Mansfield in a good place.”

Announcer Jordan Martin then brought up special guests that acted as ring presenters. Dave Otto of the track booster club, Danielle Overton of the Championship class of 2010, Travis Pettus the “Voice of the Tigers”, Danielle Godwin of the Championship Class of 2008, and Julie Basham of Farmers Bank were all in attendance.

Representatives from Today’s Bank, Chambers Bank, and Roger Thompson of Farm Bureau were sponsors, unable to attend.

“We definitely appreciate the sponsors and all the help that went into this entire season,” continued the former coach.

Newly appointed Mansfield High School Principal Justin Bonds helped direct the ring distribution to the guests who in turn presented the awards to the players and coaching staff.

All members of the collective ninth through twelfth grade team were recognized whether they participated on the indoor or outdoor team. Some members were unable to attend because they had already moved on to college or had other conflicts.

Seven Sanderson, the River-Valley’s Thrower of the Year, was the penultimate player announced to receive her championship ring. Sanderson was a two time All-State shot put and discus individual champion and Mansfield’s Track Player of the Year. She set a personal best throw in the discus at 115’ 9” to win the class 2A state title for the second consecutive year. The homeschool senior was also the two time defending indoor shot put champion.

Jadelynn Wood, Mansfield’s Team Captain and Golden Baton Player, was fittingly announced as the final player to receive her ring. Wood enjoyed a reputation of being the last to leave her lengthy practices and workouts. She was the team’s most decorated winner as a two time All-State runner, and four time All-Star cross country runner. 

The recent MHS graduate was among the last players to compete on the 2023 Lady Tiger team as a Meet of Champs qualifier and state heptathlete. She now competes as a member of the UA Rich Mountain track and cross country program.

“I’m so proud of these two seniors that were the heart and soul of our program,” reflected Mackey. “They are among my favorite players of all time, as is this entire team. We kind of graduated together with this being my last season. The ring celebration was a wonderful way to close out a career.”

Players recognized for the team’s outdoor success but not individually recognized as members of the indoor roster were Brooklyn Adams, Natalie Allison, Jaelynn Garcia, Kaylie Lowery, Kayla Bieker, and Addison Robles.

State championship team members and ring recipients included the following.

Class of 2026:

  1. Thrower, team assistant - Chloe Beran

  2. All-District triple jumper, sprint relays - Madison Hearron

  3. All-State sprinter, hurdler, sprint relays, pole vaulter and Outdoor MVP - Daisy Nelson

  4. All-District shot put, discus, high jumper - Kaylee Ward

  5. Middle Distance runner, team assistant - Chloe Whiley (unable to attend)

Class of 2025:

  1. Team assistant - Isabella Escalante

  2. Middle Distance runner, distance relays - Summer Frazier

  3. Distance runner, distance relays - Ashley Martin

  4. All-State relay runner, hurdler - Addie Stover

  5. All-State relay runner, high jumper - Azlynn Stover

  6. All-State relay runner, long jumper, triple jumper and Indoor MVP - Trinity Triska

  7. Distance runner, team assistant - Carissa Vaughan

  8. All-State relay runner, sprinter, high jumper - Carter Whiley

  9. All-State relay runner, pole vaulter, hurdler, triple jumper and heptathlete - Laney Wood

Class of 2024:

  1. All-State relay runner - Raine Hecox

Class of 2023:

  1. All-State shot put, discus - Skylynn Harris (unable to attend)

  2. All-State shot put, discus, Track Player of the Year, and River Valley Arkansas-Democrat Gazette Thrower of the Year - Seven Sanderson

  3. Sprinter, team assistant - Saylor Steward (unable to attend)

  4. All-State relay runner, hurdler, triple jumper, high jumper, heptathlete, and Team Captain - Jadelynn Wood


  1. Assistant Indoor Coach, Head Boys Coach - Ethan Bowman

  2. Assistant XC Coach, Assistant Indoor Coach - Susan Martin

Conference 2A-4 Track Coach of the Year, Class 2A Athletic Director of the Year, Head Coach - John Mackey

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Mansfield School District
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Mansfield, Arkansas 72944
Phone: 479-928-4006
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