Lady Bull­dogs win Eureka Springs track meet

Westside Eagle-Observer - - SPORTS - MIKE ECKELS meck­

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.

West­side Ea­gle Ob­server/MIKE ECKELS

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.

West­side Ea­gle Ob­server/MIKE ECKELS

Paige Bar­rett for De­catur launches her shot dur­ing the Cor­ner­stone Bank In­vi­ta­tional Re­lays on March 30 in Eureka Springs.

West­side Ea­gle Ob­server/MIKE ECKELS

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.

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