Central Arkansas Christian didn’t have many track and field athletes this spring, but the quality was certainly there.
Three Lady Mustangs placed in the Class 4A State Meet, with two of those advancing to the Meet of Champions.
The Meet of Champs brings together the event winners of all the state meets as well as the next best overall performances regardless of classification.
“That’s been the norm, especially with all the success we have with soccer,” CAC track coach Chris Morse said. “If we had more Rachel Minas, we could compete more. She’s a workhorse.”
Mina, a junior pulling double duty, led the Lady Mustangs to the Class 4A State soccer championship and finished eighth in the Meet of Champs in the 400, running 1:03.16. She had finished runner-up at state in 1:00.71, barely behind Kyelah Hodges of Crossett (1:00.68).
Logan Tolbert, a senior, placed fifth in the Meet of Champs in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.03 seconds. That time was an improvement from her third place in the state meet, where she ran 15.51 to finish third behind Crossett’s Kelsey Herman (15.05) and Aulexis Pippen (15.23).
Kristiana Watson, a junior, finished fifth in the 100-meter dash at state in 13.03 seconds and eighth in the 200 in 27.57.
Mina won the 7-4A district championship in the 400 with a performance of 1:01.09. The 1:00.71 at state was her best of the season.
“Had she not had surgery on her shoulder (during the offseason), she would’ve competed in the 300 hurdles,” Morse said. “She didn’t run the 800 because she had an ankle injury in soccer, or probably she would’ve qualified (for state) in the 800.”
Mina was the epitome of a two-sport star.
“A lot of times she’ll play a soccer game and then run over to our meet and do her event,” Morse said. “She works really hard and enjoys track.”
Tolbert’s 15.03 was a personal best in the 100 hurdles. Other highlights of her season were a first in the 7-4A District Meet (15.68) and a third in the high jump at the district meet (5-0).
She is headed to Southern Arkansas University to play volleyball next fall.
“She’s probably one of the better volleyball players we’ve had in a while,” Morse said. “That’s her main sport. She probably could have competed in some other events in track. She high jumped, and she could’ve long jumped. It’s hard to find an athlete like that these days at this size of school.”
He said only a fear of injury — she tweaked an ankle triple jumping — kept her from competing in the Arkansas High School Heptathlon following the Meet of Champs.
“She ran well all year,” Morse said. “She didn’t really have any competition until we got to state. Somehow we avoided Crossett until state.”
Watson ran a season-best 12.92 to finish runner-up in the 100 at the district meet. In the 200, her best also came at district, 27.22.
Morse said at the state meet in the rain, Watson slipped in the starting blocks or she likely would have placed better.
“She actually finished better than I thought she would,” he said. “Most people would’ve given up after that, but she gathered herself and finished strong. She had an injury in basketball, so it took a while to get her in shape, but she competed well.”
He said the Lady Mustangs had a few other soccer players who likely could have qualified for state in track had they followed Mina’s lead and done both sports.
Now he’ll have time to work on them about double-dipping before next spring.