Lady Chiefs take second; Saints’ Hanson fifth

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 9, 2005

JACKSON &045; Tensas Academy came into the MPSA State Track meet with fewer girls competing than head coach Chris Jacobs would have liked.

After all, at the State meet even the last finisher in each event gets one point, so it’s advantageous to have as many athletes as possible competing.

Tensas didn’t have that luxury, but the Lady Chiefs still took second place in the team standings thanks to second place finishes in the 400 meters by Caity Rogers and the 1,600 by Mary Miller Ratcliff and their relays, which finished second, third and sixth in the three relay events.

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&uot;This system hurts us a little bit,&uot; Jacobs said. &uot;Teams like Benton have two girls in quite a few things here. Not as many of our girls qualified so it’s tough to get as many points.&uot;

The scoring system gives 10 points for first, eight for second, six for third, five for fourth, four for fifth, three for sixth, two for seventh and one for eighth, meaning that even the last participant in a race gets one point for finishing.

The Lady Chiefs dug a big hole early against eventual champion Benton Academy and finally had to settle for second, though they had to beat Wayne Academy on the final race of the day just to secure the second spot. Tensas took third place in the mile relay and Wayne was last, breaking a tie between the schools.

&uot;After a while, we were just so far behind Benton there didn’t seem much chance of catching them,&uot; Jacobs said. &uot;But some of our stronger events are on the relays and we started catching up. I don’t know that they could have been caught even if we had more girls here, but we did a good job and got us some hardware.&uot;

Tensas was in 17th place after Friday’s field events, their lone score coming from Whitney Alford’s fourth-place finish in the high jump. But the Lady Chiefs’ slowly climbed back Saturday.

Ratcliff’s 5:54.79 in the mile set a personal best by more than seven seconds and helped spearhead the team’s charge back in the team standings.

&uot;I’m just tired,&uot; Ratcliff said. &uot;But it felt pretty good to run a personal best here. I was catching up (to winner Leanna Reynolds of Strider Academy) but she crossed the line and I just cruised in.&uot;

The relays were a huge key for Tensas. The Lady Chiefs’ team of Ratcliff, Rogers, Aubrey McEachern and Mary Elizabeth Crigler took the 800 relay with a time of 1:54.27. In the mile relay, the team finished in 4:28.12.

The Trinity boys team struggled at the meet as their sprinters encountered some strong runners from the North division.

The Saints’ Scott Hanson, who won the 300 hurdles at South State, finished just fifth Saturday, trailing all four runners from the North. Hanson’s time of 42.76 wasn’t much different from the times he’s run this year, but the competition was much tougher.

&uot;They were dominating,&uot; Hanson said. &uot;My time was about the same as last week, not quite as good, but everyone else here just ran a little faster.&uot;

Hanson finished sixth in the 400 at 54.44 seconds, his fifth race of the day.

Trinity’s Stevan Ridley also had trouble with the North runners. Ridley finished last in the 100 (12.08 seconds) and 200 (24.69) despite running times that weren’t too far off his usual. Hanson was seventh with a time of 24.58, just ahead of Ridley in the 200.

&uot;The North is strong. Their times weren’t supposed to be that good, but their running fast today,&uot; Ridley said. &uot;The North is really strong.&uot;

Centreville finished strong on both sides, taking third in boys and sixth in girls. The boys’ squad was led by strong finishes in the relays &045; two seconds and a fourth &045; and a phenomenal performance from Tal Priest in the field events. Priest cleared 12 feet in the pole vault and took second in the triple jump at 42-6.

The Lady Tigers were led by the efforts of Shellie Vine, who finished second in the 100 (13.12) and fourth in the 200 (27.39). The Lady Tigers’ relays finished with a fifth and two sixth places.

Wilkinson County Christian Academy’s Greg Garner finished second in the 800 (2:13.76), helping his team to an sixth-place finish in the boys’ team event.

Adams Christian’s Katilyn O’Quinn finished third in the 3,200 with a time of 13:12.73. Simpson Academy had the top runner who finished in 12:35.

&uot;For a seventh-grader, I was real proud of her time,&uot; Adams head coach Warren Whitaker said. &uot;If she continues to get her time down, she’ll be solid next year. She’ll be a strong runner.&uot;