Though meets are not decided on paper, stilllllll -- the papers say that the Hawks track teams will be heavy favorites to retain their district titles next week in Berryville.
The Blackhawk girls have the leading mark in 12 of the 18 events that will be contested in the meet that will end the regular season. The Hawks are also known for their depth, so the odds are heavily in their favor.
Head coach Heather Wade has won the district crown every season save one, and has been the only coach in Pea Ridge sports history to be named Arkansas Coach of the Year among all classifications.
Wade will be relying heavily on senior Blakelee Winn who has the top mark in six events. She leads in the 100-meter (12.5), the 200-meter (26.8), the 100-meter hurdles (15.5), the 300-meter hurdles (47.2), the long jump (18'2") and the shot put (32'5").
Junior Liz Vasquez has the top mark in two events: the 1,600-meter (5:50) and the 3,200-meter (13:02). McKenzie Klingman is the leading discus thrower (103'8") and the Hawks have the best relay marks in the 4x100-meter (51.9), the 4x400-meter (4:26) and the 4x800-meter (10:35).
The boys' squad also has 12 of the 18 leading marks listed in Milesplit Arkansas, the official scoring site for the Arkansas Activities Association.
Three athletes are leading in two events: Patrick Elliott was the best marks in the 100-meter (10.9) and the 200-meter (22.6); Josiah Small leads the way in the 400-meter (52.5) and the 800-meter (2:03.1); with Tate Christensen having the tops marks in the shot put (45'11") and the discus (133'3").
Three other athletes are leading in one event with Drake Wolfenden topping pole vaulters at 12'6", Levi Schults leading the way in the 1,600-meter (4:53), and Grandon Grant having the best 3,200-meter time (10:53.5).
The Hawks have three leaders in the relay events. The 4x100-meter leads with 43.9, the 4x400-meter leads with 3:42 and the 4x800-meter leads with 9:06.
The past several years has seen the Blackhawk nation develop a state power in track and field. The teams have won more titles and championships in the past five years than they did the previous 25 or more.
The Hawks "Good to Great" mantra has been resting on the great side primarily.
Razorbacks stay on top
The Arkansas Razorback softball and baseball teams are sitting atop the SEC standings with both teams winning more games that any other college team in America at this point in the season.
The men are the top ranked team and have been for a lot of this season. The women are No. 10 at present with an RPI power rating that places them the No. 6 team in the country.
Both the softball and baseball playoffs saw an unusual decision by the NCAA relative to where the NCAA Regions and Super Regions are to be played.
Usually, at the end of the season, the best 16 teams in the nation get selected to host a region playoff that involves four teams. If the top eight teams survive their regional, they host the super regional which qualifies teams for the College World Series.
This year, because of covid-19, they will select the region and super region sites even though the host school may not even be included in the playoffs. The NCAA says that this will help the host school be better prepared to observe covid-19 protocols. This makes no sense as the schools are already mandated to observe protocols in the games going on right now. What it will mean that there may be a playoff site with few spectators if the host team isn't in the mix.
This will probably be good for Arkansas as the men will likely get to host clear to the World Series, with the women getting to host at least a region meet at their present ranking.
Editor's note: John McGee, an award-winning columnist, sports writer and art teacher at Pea Ridge elementary schools, writes a regular sports column for The Times. The opinions expressed are those of the writer. He can be contacted through The Times at [email protected]