Leader Blues

Friday, May 15, 2009

SPORTS >> Himstedt picks up title for Lonoke

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

It was quality over quantity for Lonoke track at the 4A state track meet at Lake Hamilton in Pearcy on Thursday. Only five qualified out of district, but the Jackrabbits still managed one individual state title and a runner-up performance.

Junior Ashleigh Himstedt took the state championship in the 800-meter run for the Lady Jackrabbits, while Alex Jones finished second in the shot put for the boys. Lonoke had one other finalist, Tai Grayson, who finished eighth in the long jump.

Himstedt finished with a time of 2:26.58, more than five seconds better than her previous best.

“She’s been strong all year, but hasn’t been pushed at every event,” said Lonoke girls assistant track coach Nathan Morris.

“The track had a lot to do with it. (Lake Hamilton) has a good track down there, and it’s a good thing that she picked it up the way she did, because her previous best wouldn’t have won it. Her old time would have been third,” Morris said.

Third is where Himstedt found herself after the first 100 meters, but a good kick at the 110-meter mark propelled her to the win. Himstedt qualified for state by winning the 800-meters at the 2-4A district meet.

Jones also won district to qualify for his runner-up performance at state. Jones had a distance of 51-3.5, five inches behind Ashdone Bailey of Arkadelphia.

John Hobbs qualified for state with a district win in the 400-meter run, but did not make the top eight in the preliminaries at state.

The hard-luck story of the meet for Lonoke was Sam King, who won the district meet in the triple jump and took second in the long jump to qualify for state, but sustained an injury in the preliminaries of the state triple jump and was forced to withdraw.

With the win, Himstedt is qualified for next week’s Meet of Champs at Lake Hamilton High School.