Panthers take 6th at State

PEARCY – Senior Zach Riley broke a state record and the Benton Panthers placed sixth in the 6A State Track and Field Championships held at Lake Hamilton High School on Friday. The Panthers scored 47 points for the meet, while Russellville took the championship with 118.50 points. The Lady Panthers placed 11th out of 16 teams with 57 points. Texarkana placed first with 202.50 points.

“We had a good day,” Benton track Coach Lewis Pryor said.

Riley won the 100-meter dash in record-breaking fashion when he ran a 10.62, with the old record coming in 2007 by Texarkana’s Fred Rose, who ran a 10.68. Riley’s also set a personal record with the time as he ran a 10.63 at the Coca-Cola Relays in Nashville, Ark., two weeks ago.

“You have to run it in the state meet to make it a state record,” Pryor said of the new record.

Riley also set a PR in the 200m dash. With his previous best coming in at 21.60 in Nashville, Riley ran a 21.47 at State to win the 200.

“I’m glad to see Zach come on through and right now, he has a real good chance of winning the 100 and 200 in the Meet of Champs,” Pryor said. "Nobody pushed him yesterday. I was worried about the [Eric]Nathaniel kid from Parkview, but [Zach’s] clicking right now and I hope he stays where he’s at, and finishes the year like he’s doing.”

Junior Wallace Foote also competed in the 200 and placed seventh with a time of 23.25.

Wanting to break 43 seconds in the 4x100m relay all season, the Panthers accomplished that goal in the 6A South conference meet in El Dorado with a time of 42.85. The foursome of Shaun Carey, Desmond Mauldin, Foote and Riley bettered that time on Friday, setting a new PR with a time of 42.57.

“We get to go to the Meet of Champs there,” Pryor said of the 4x100. “There’s only one team in the state that has anything better than we do and that’s Mills. They ran a 41.8. It ought to be a good race.”

The team of Alex Bowling, Foote, Mauldin and Riley took third place in the 4x400 with a time 3:27.16, which is another PR.

“Zach kind of cramped up,” Pryor said of his anchor leg in the 4x400. “I don’t know if he would have caught the boy from Marion, but he scared me. I thought he pulled something when he pulled up.

Benton set another PR when the Panthers placed fourth in the 4x800 relay. The foursome of Bowling, Morgan Reese, Kevin Humble and senior Parker Vrana ran the 4x800 in 8:32.4, over 5 seconds better than their previous PR of 8:37.51.

Bowling placed seventh in the 800 with a time of 2:04.53 and Reese took eighth in the 1,600 at 4:49.91

“It was an excellent day,” Pryor said. “It would be a big step if we could beat Mills in the 4x100. They beat us with a 41.8 or 9 the last time we raced against them. That’s why you show up and that’s why you run. Competition is good for you.”


Senior Kristen Ryan placed fourth in the discus throw with a distance 103’7” and took 10th in the shot put with a distance of 32’.

The 4x800m relay team of Erin Jackson, Ashlyn Watkins, Olivia Barnes and Bailey Doggett placed seventh with a time of 11:15.22, and the foursome of Kiyaonda Fisher, Doggett, Chassidy Colbert and Kayley Smoke also finished in seventh place with a time of 52.28, which is a PR.

The Meet of Champs will be held this Saturday at Lake Hamilton.