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Being last initially helped Edie Murray finish first in the Meet of Champions.

The Lake Hamilton sophomore vaulter cleared 13 feet Saturday at Russellville High School, adding the MOC title to her Class 6A crown of the previous week. Murray's career-best outdoor performance decided a duel with Class 5A champion Rachel Milnes, of Nettleton, who went 12-8.

Lake Hamilton vault coach Morry Sanders said Murray derived an edge from being the No. 1 qualifier. "That meant she went last and could see how everyone was doing," he said.

Murray and Milnes were even until Milnes missed her first attempt at 12 feet, 8 inches. "I told Edie that (Milnes) had opened the door for her," Sanders said, "and that she could close it if she made her first attempt.

"She looked me in the eye, confident as could be, and said, 'I know."'

Senior teammate Madison Shinn, last year's Class 6A champion, finished third at 12 feet by virtue of fewer misses than Bentonville's Isabel Neal.

Springdale Har-Ber senior Zach McWhorter repeated in the boys' pole vault clearing 16 feet, 8 inches after setting a Class 7A record of 16-10 the previous week. Lake Hamilton sophomore Haze Farmer, with three 16-foot vaults this spring, finished second at 15-4 and Rogers' Landon McClung, the 7A runner-up, third at 15 feet.

McWhorter passed until 16 feet, clearing the bar on his first attempt, then missed once at 16-8 before going over. He took three tries at 17-2, hoping to better the MOC record of 17-1 set by Andrew Irwin (Mount Ida) in 2011.

Farmer made his first jumps at 15-0 and 15-4, passed at 15-8 and then missed three times at 16 feet. He finished second in the 6A meet to teammate and fellow sophomore Michael Harris, who no-heighted Saturday after clearing 16 feet May 4 at Wolf Stadium.

"The boys had an OK day, I guess, but no one jumped really well," said Sanders, the 1988 MOC champion (16-7) as a Lake Hamilton senior. "There was a little bit of a headwind (the vaulter's enemy) but it didn't affect things that much." Comparatively speaking, "the girls did a pretty good job."

Though it only netted second place, Lake Hamilton set a school record in the boys' 4x800-meter relay Saturday with Mckree Martin, Colby Swecker, Hunter Tucker and Cody Weldon timed in 8:00.28. That bettered by one-hundredth of a second the time set by Richard Williams, David Mills, Amos Gerber and Ethan Turpen in 2009. The current foursome won the MOC title last year in 8:10.62, fifth fastest in school history.

The Wolves on Saturday finished 40 hundredths of a second behind Harrison's Matthew Arman, Zach Powers, Seth Waters and Jayce Martin while more than 9 seconds ahead of third-place Rogers. Farmer, Martin and Tucker ran with Knowledge Hood on the third-place 4x400 relay, Bryant winning in 3:24.13 and with the Wolves timed in 3:25.58.

The boys' 800 meters, as expected, proved especially competitive and with Hot Springs senior Joe Sartini runner-up for the second year in a row. But instead of a Sartini rematch with Harrison's Waters, to whom he finished second at last year's MOC and in the last two Class 5A meets, the second-year Hot Springs athlete went to the wire with Bentonville's Zerai Belai, clocked in 1:54.85 to Sartini's 1:54.86. Conway's Jonah Willis was third in 1:57.05, Maumelle's Jackson Fry fourth in 1:57.05 and Lake Hamilton's Colby Swecker fifth in 1:59.14. (Sartini competes for Hot Springs, though attending Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts.)

Jessieville junior Noah Eskew, a three-time Class 3A cross country champion, bid strongly for his first MOC title with a second-place finish at 1,600 meters. Winner Camren Fischer, of Fayetteville, was clocked in 4:18.14 and Eskew in 4:24.65 with Conway Christian's Bennett Pascoe third in 4:26.01.

As in the Class 6A meet, Lake Hamilton's William Burgess (52 feet, 3.75 inches) placed second to Russellville's Matt Campbell (53 feet, 7.50 inches) in the shot put. Hood placed fourth at 400 meters with 50.47 seconds to Helena-West Helena Central winner Keeton Calvin's 49.69.

Jessieville's Alina Homan placed fourth in the girls' 3,200 (12:07.39), won by Cabot's Casey Gore in 11:30.45, and Hot Springs' Neamiah Dangerfield sixth in the boys' long jump (20-9.50) to Lafayette County's Lepatrick Miller (22-6).

The decathlon and heptathlon Wednesday and Thursday at Cabot High School ring out the Arkansas high school track season. The 85 decathlon entrants include Farmer and Harris of Lake Hamilton and Eskew and Jacob Bearden of Jessieville. The 76 hepathlon signees include Murray and Jenny Peake of Lake Hamilton and Jaidyn Fortenberry and Riley Taylor of Jessieville.

Sports on 05/15/2017

Print Headline: Clutch vault makes LH's Murray MOC winner

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