After a year without any track meets in the area, I finally got to experience the excitement again! One of the longest running (yea, that's a pun!) Track and Field meets in the area, the 46th Annual Bonner Relays was this past Friday night.
The norm for this meet is cold, wet, windy and probably one of the most fun to attend of all the meets in the area. It's a true "Relay" meet. Three entries in each field event and you score based on adding up the three and the longest or highest number wins. It's also really early in the season and so the athletes may - or may not - be quite ready to figure out the technique in the triple jump. A few stumbles and a few scratches aren't unusual at this meet. But it's the first meet of the season in the area and what better way to start than the Harding Bonner Relays - a true tradition in track and field in the Memphis area.
I would say the D2 Small Division should probably keep their eyes on Harding again this year. Both the girls and boys took the top team spot in this meet. The boys were dominant with their win giving themselves a solid cushion on the runner up spot by Briarcrest. The strength of the running game for Harding and their jumps is what helped them keep this meet trophy in the home display! As I mentioned, the field events are scored as relays so if you can manage to get your team up near the top, you have a good chance of getting a good start to the meet. Harding boys were able to do that. They swept the Triple jump with their 1, 2 and 3 place result with great jumps by Jaxon Toney (39-9.5), Justin Davis (37-9.0) and Joshua Dabney (35-8). Had three of the top four in the long jump, were able to grab the first and second place for the high jump and scored a sweep in the pole vault as well. Hard to beat someone at this meet with a start like that.
Briarcrest boys gave it their shot at trying though getting 52 points and the runner up spot Friday. And yes, another pun, as the Saints Nate Bledsoe (44-3.5) and Lawson Ewing (40-6.5) started out with some new PR's and a 1-2 finish for the shot! Lawson also PR'd in the discus and threw 134-9 to get a runner up spot in that event.
Using some balanced effort across all the events, the Harding Girls were able to take the top spot by a relatively comfortable margin of 20 points. Probably getting all three girls in the top 5 of the Discus event might be considered their best event at this meet Friday. Emily Howard (79-6), Morgan Nunnally (75-6) and Trinity Malone (75-0) came in 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively. Usually you see athletes running closely together in distance races see some success, but in this case, the Harding Three in the Discus matched that strategy and it certainly seemed to be an advantage at this meet.
Runner up Friday was St. Mary's Episcopal. They were a close 5 points from both Hutchison and Briarcrest, so the race for second was a close match between three D2 competitors. Might be interesting to see how that plays out the week of May 10th this season! Like Harding, St. Mary's won with a very well-balanced group of athletes. It looked like the St. Mary's long jumpers followed the Harding throwers in that they all jumped closely matched attempts. Three in the top 6 for the long jump tends to put a few points on your board in this meet and gets you that top spot.
We aren't all back to normal with Track and Field meets, still a few things to work out and get through. But the meets are starting again. Athletes are competing again. Training is ramping up on all the track in the area. The rust is finally coming off. And, probably the most important thing about starting out the year at the Bonner Relays, it didn't rain this year! Now that is a sign of just good things to come!
It's good to be back - and see you on the Track,