Lick Creek School Lady Eagles win regional track championship
Thirteen teams gathered at Anna-Jonesboro Community High School on a recent cold and damp day for the Region 1 junior high track and field championship.
The Lick Creek Lady Eagles outdistanced second place Jonesboro 116-89 to win the title.
“I am very very proud of our kids. We moved some people around to try to advance to the state meet so we weren’t sure how it would all work out. It couldn’t have gone any better,” Lick Creek coach Matt Denny stated.
“These kids have worked so hard, everything they have gotten this year has been earned.”
Lick Creek started off with Hannah Miller placing first in the long jump with a jump of 15-2. She was a three seed entering regionals.
Kristin Edmonds followed up with a second place finish in the shot put with a throw of 27-7, behind Jonesboro’s defending state champ in Anna Hess, who threw 32-3. Edmonds was a three seed as well.
“This was a big shot in the arm for us, there was a buzz about the team after they both did well and qualified for state,” Denny stated.
The momentum never stopped after that. Addison Denny and Miranda Miller started off the finals with a 1-2 finish in the 100m hurdles, with both of them running season best times of 18.12 and 18.34 respectively.
“Addie and Manny were three and four seeds. They hadn’t beaten two of the girls all year. They really stepped up and got the job done,” Denny said.
The excitement rippled throughout the rest of the team, knowing that this was their day.
The 400m relay team of Kaylee Stover, Hannah Miller, Jaiden Foster, and Kristin Edmonds were next with a winning time of 58.34.
Brodie Denny followed them with a first place finish in the 400m dash with a time of 1:10.15.
Next up was the 1600m run. Kyleigh Matuszewich and Julia Hall finished 1-2 in the event with times of 6:09.75 and 6:11.88.
“These two have been the heart and soul of our track and cross country team for the last several years. They haven’t been challenged all year, so I am excited to see what they can do at state,” Denny said.
Next on the track was the 800m varsity relay of Stover, Hannah Miller, Foster and Edmonds. They finished first with a time of 2:05.67 to make it five straight first place finishes on the track for the Lady Eagles.
Next were the 7th and 8th grade 100m dashes.
“We took our top sprinters out of the 100 and 200 and loaded up our relays. We knew there were some super fast sprinters that we couldn’t contend with, it paid off in the relays,” Denny said.
One of those sprinters is Jonesboro’s Jenna Sadler, who won the 7th grade 100m with a time of 13.36.
“Jenna is an amazing athlete. She is just in the 6th grade, and I don’t know if I have seen her lose a single race since she was in kindergarten.” Denny said.
Brodie Denny was back on the track for the 800m and took first place, her second title of the day with a time of 2:42.31.
She was followed by her teammate Kyleigh Matuszewich, who finished second with a time of 2:43.94.
To end the day was Lick Creek’s 1600m relay team of Edmonds, Hannah Miller, Hall, and Brodie Denny. They outdistanced their closest competitor by almost 30 seconds with a time of 4:47.32.
“It was a fitting way to end the day. It really couldn’t have gone any better,” Denny said.
Also advancing on the boys’ side for Lick Creek were 7th grade relay of Evan Hall, Payton Denny, Kollyn Grant and J.J. Gerardi. Brandon Wright finished first in the 800m with a time of 2:37.61.
Kollyn Grant also qualified in two individual events finishing second in the long jump and first in the 7th grade 100m with a time of 12.54 seconds.
Those advancing to the state meet are scheduled to run at Herrin on Saturday, May 13.