The 2021 high school track and field season is well underway. The GHS Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs have competed in three meets to date with another scheduled this week at Van Buren. Unfortunately, for the second straight spring, the annual Bulldog Relays will not be held.
The 2020 version was wiped out by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent shutdown of all athletic activities across the state and around the nation. Last Friday’s planned meet was cancelled due to an ominous weather forecast that never really came to pass. According to the GHS athletic department, the event likely will not be made up.
A week before the scheduled Bulldog Relays, both GHS teams traveled to Siloam Springs for the Panther Relays, joining eight other schools from Northwest Arkansas, including Decatur, Farmington, Gentry, Gravette, Rogers, Shiloh Christian, Springdale, and Siloam Springs.
Shiloh Christian and Farmington finished 1-2, respectively, in the girls’ standings. The Lady Saints earned 117 points to 112 for the Lady Cardinals. Springdale (96), Siloam Springs (85), and Gravette (83.5) rounded out the top five teams. The Lady Bulldogs scored 41 points and finished in seventh place.
On the boys’ side, the host Panthers took home the top prize with 179 points, followed by Springdale at 161. Shiloh Christian (105) was a distant third while the Gravette (62) and Greenwood (49) boys finished fourth and fifth.
For the Lady Bulldogs, most of their points came from the long-distance running events, led by members of the cross country team that has finished first and second in the Class 5A state meet each of the past two years (2019-2020). Six GHS girls scored points, including one first place finish, two seconds, two thirds, and a sixth-place finish.
Greenwood sophomore Ashley Koeth won the girls’ 3200-meter run with a time of 12:54.80, almost two full minutes ahead of the second-place finisher from Siloam Springs. Junior Abi Coston also competed in the event, scoring third-place points for the Lady Bulldogs with a time of 15:06.25.
Two GHS girls also placed and scored points in the 1600-meter run. Senior Macie Cash, a college prospect, finished second with a time of 5:28.94 followed by teammate Abi Coston in sixth place (6:57.79).
GHS junior Kaitlynne Elmore placed third in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:34.55. The remaining points scored by the Lady Bulldogs came in the pole vault, where sophomore Taylor Hankins cleared the bar at 9’6” to earn a second-place finish.
For the GHS boys, eight Bulldogs scored top-six finishes to account for the team’s 49 points, including one first-place, one second, one third, one fourth, three fifth-place, and one sixth-place finish.
Sophomore Noah Embrey ran first (4:49.13) in the 1600-meter run to lead his teammates. GHS junior Trey Merreighn finished fifth in the same event with a time of 5:14.38. He also placed fifth (11:52.21) in the 3200-meter run.
The next best GHS performance came from the 4x100 meter relay team. Their time of 46.19 seconds was good enough for second place behind first-place Springdale (45.34) and over half-a-second ahead of third-place Shiloh Christian at 46.73.
Gavin Ciesla ran third (2:13.55) in the 800-meter run, followed close behind by fellow sophomore and teammate Hudson Trice (2:14.72) in fourth place. Sophomore Storm Scherry placed fifth in the long jump with a leap of 18’3”. Senior Hunter Wilkinson earned sixth-place points in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.23 seconds.
On March 30th the Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs competed at Mansfield High School, one of 17 schools to do so. Among those, Greenwood was the largest school to participate. The GHS boys finished 10th overall with 29 points, while the GHS girls placed fourth with 51 points, bolstered by a pair of first-place finishes.
Madelyn Wilkinson ran first (2:38.73) in the 800-meter run, while Taylor Hankins aced the pole vault, clearing the bar with a first-place height of nine feet. Kaitlynne Elmore placed second behind Wilkinson in the 800-meter event with a time of 2:43.37. The GHS 4x200 meter relay team placed third clocking in at 2:08.54.
In the 3200-meter run, Macie Cash ran away from the field with a first-place time of 12:12.15, more than 33 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher from Clarksville (12:45.74). Ashley Koeth ran third (13:05.78) in the same event for Greenwood to round out the scoring. Waldron, Mansfield, and Ozark finished ahead of the Lady Bulldogs.
The GHS boys had five top-six finishes, led by the 4x800 meter relay team’s second-place finish (9:32.29). Gavin Ciesla ran fourth (2:18.98) in the 800-meter run and the 4x200 meter relay team also finished fourth (1:46.33). Hunter Wilkinson ran fifth (11.82) in the 100-meter dash and Storm Scherry placed sixth in the long jump with a distance of 18 feet even.
The season’s first meet was the annual James Lemley Quad City event held at Van Buren High School on March 12th. The yearly get-together includes five teams from Sebastian and Crawford counties. The participating teams were from Alma, Van Buren, Greenwood, and both Fort Smith high schools, Northside and Southside.
Among the boys’ teams, Fort Smith Southside came in first with a whopping 192 points, more than three times the score of second-place Alma (62). Northside placed third (51), Van Buren fourth (37), and Greenwood fifth (18).
The GHS girls finished third (49 points) behind first place Van Buren (128) and second place Southside (75). Alma was fourth (41) and Northside fifth (27). The Greenwood ladies had a trio of first place winners and four second place finishes.
Among those taking first for the Lady Bulldogs were Taylor Hankins (9’6”) in the pole vault and the 4x800 meter relay team (11:18.56). Macie Cash won the 3200-meter run in a race totally dominated by Greenwood. Cash crossed the finish line with a time of 13:01.90 followed by teammates Ashley Koeth (13:31.60) and Abi Coston (15.08.21) in second and fourth place, respectively.
Kaitlynne Elmore placed second (2:45.63) in the 800-meter run and the Lady Bulldogs earned four of the top six spots in the 1600-meter run. Macie Cash ran second (5:34.51), Madelyn Wilkinson finished third (5:57.19), Kaitlynne Elmore was fifth (6:03.89), and Ashley Koeth (6:18.54) was sixth.
The GHS boys had just four top-six finishers, but one of those was Noah Embrey who shined with a pair of first place wins. He led the pack in both the 1600-meter run (4:37.02) and the 3200-meter run (10:15.12) to account for most of Greenwood’s points. He got some help from the 4x800 meter relay team (fifth - 9:22.38) and Storm Scherry in the long jump (fourth - 19’8¼”).
Both GHS track and field teams are under the direction of Head Coach Brian Sims. Cross County Head Coach Jim Andrews also assists. The two squads are scheduled to compete at Van Buren on Friday in the Pointer Relays then the following Thursday (22nd) in the prestigious McDonald Relays at Fort Smith Southside. The conference meet will be held at Russellville on April 29th.