Lady Bulldogs win Eureka Springs track meet
EUREKA SPRINGS — The Decatur boys’ and girls’ track teams put on one of their best performances of the season March 30 when they traveled to Eureka Springs to compete in the Cornerstone Bank Invitational Relays at the Highlander Track complex. By the end of the night, the girls’ track team won its first meet of the season and two star Decatur athletes won individual high-point honors for the night.
Since winning the 1A state girls’ track title last year, Shane Holland, Decatur track coach, has seen an influx of girls wanting to compete in track. Last year, six girls, Cameron Shaffer, Meagan Smith, Desi Meek, Paige Vann, Destiny Mejia and Paige Barrett, combined their talents to earn the first-ever state track title for Decatur. In the March 30 meet, that number doubled to 12, retaining Meek, Vann, Mejia and Barrett.
The Eureka Springs meet was the first competition for many of these new track and field athletes. For the first time in several years, the girls were able to run the 4x800, 4x400 and 4x100 meter relay teams, with surprising results.
In their first outing, the 4x800 relay team, comprised of Laticia Fuentes, Deysi Rubi, Abby Tilley and Stephanie Sandoval, were able to take first place, defeating schools from Eureka, Alpena, Omaha, Green Forest and Life Way Christian. The two remaining relay teams, with the addition of Vann in the anchor position, took firstand second-place medals.
Desi Meek, who won several events and set a personal best in two of them, was the individual high-point leader for the second year in a row at the Eureka Springs event. She also won the same title in the junior-high event in 2016.
Mejia also won two events, setting a new personal best in the high jump at 5 feet, three inches.
With the combined efforts of the entire 12-member team, the Decatur girls’ track team brought home the Cornerstone Bank Invitational Relays girls’ title, adding another plaque to the track trophy case at Peterson Gym in Decatur.
The boys’ team also had new athletes competing in their first high school track meet. Ryan Ross competed in both the 100-meter hurdles and high jump, while basketball teammate Garry Woods competed in the high jump. Melton (Junior) Hurtado competed in the shot put and ran in two of the three relay teams for Decatur.
A big surprise during this meet was Taylor Haisman, normally a longdistance and relay runner, who competed in the boys’ pole vault, finishing in the top three.
Johnny Brandon was the boys’ individual highpoint leader in the Eureka event.
The event was delayed for over an hour late in the evening when the new scoring system malfunctioned, forcing event organizers to resort to old-fashioned methods of timing the athletes, eight stopwatches with pencils and paper. Because of this malfunction, the results were not posted by press time.
The Decatur boys’ and girls’ track teams will travel to Pea Ridge April 5 to compete in the Blackhawk Invitational Relays. The meet starts at 4 p.m.
Decatur’s Taylor Haisman clears the bar during the Cornerstone Bank Invitational Relays. Haisman, a relay and long-distant runner, competed in the pole vault for the first time at the meet.
Paige Barrett for Decatur launches her shot during the Cornerstone Bank Invitational Relays on March 30 in Eureka Springs.
Decatur’s Desi Meek clears a hurdle during the March 30 Cornerstone Bank Invitational Relays in Eureka Springs. Meek won the event, the 100-meter hurdles, by more than two seconds.