Track and Field
Boys Runner of the Year
SCHOOL Springdale Har-Ber
POSITION Distance runner
THE SCOOP Reina closed out his high school career in grand fashion when he broke the overall state 1,600-meter record, turning in a time of 4 minutes, 9.86 seconds during the Meet of Champs at Harding University. The previous overall mark was 4:10.45 set by Eric Gross of Mountain Home in 2001, and the Meet of Champs record was 4:11.61 by Fayetteville's Camren Fischer in 2019. ... He was a double winner during the Class 6A state meet at Rogers Heritage when he broke the meet record in the 3,200 with his time of 9:22.89 and won the 1,600 in 4:14.60. ... Had the state's second-fastest time in the 800 at 1:54.54 during the McDonalds Relays in Fort Smith.
DID YOU KNOW? Reina, who signed with Arkansas, has continued to turn in some fantastic times even after the season was over. He ran the mile in 4:07.53 -- the fastest ever in Arkansas -- during the Music City Track Carnival last month in Nashville, Tenn., and he ran the 3,200 in a personal-best 8:58.82 during the RunningLane Track Championships in Madison, Ala.
QUOTABLE "This track season was special to me with it being my senior year. I got a lot of great things done, including two state titles and a state record, as well. I achieved a lot of my time goals. One of my goals coming into the season was to get the double -- the 1,600 and the 3,200 -- at state and was able to come away with that. Heading into the Meet of Champs, I was definitely looking into getting the state record, got there and ran a solo attempt at it and got it."
Boys Athlete of the Year
THE SCOOP Scored 6,713 points to run away with the Arkansas High School Decathlon title. ... Had the state's best performance in two events -- the long jump (6-foot-10 at the Bulldog Relays) and long jump (23-2 to win the Class 6A state championship). ... Won the high jump (6-5), the long jump and the pole vault (13-10) at the Class 6A state meet and finished second in the 110 hurdles after running a personal-best in the prelims. ... Cleared a personal-best 14-2 in the pole vault to win it at the 6A-West Conference meet.
DID YOU KNOW? Hurley is a worldwide sensation on TikTok with more than 3.7 million followers and 154.3 million likes on his videos.
QUOTABLE "It was the best season I've had in my whole life, and I'm very happy with it. I feel like all the time I prepared for this season really helped during the season. I'm happy with each performance in each event. I think in the pole vault I could have done a little better, but I also didn't train very much on the pole vault all season. I think the next season will be even better."
Girls Runner of the Year
POSITION Distance runner
THE SCOOP Closed out her high school career by winning the 800 meters at the Meet of Champs with her season-best time of 2 minutes, 15.15 seconds. ... Helped the Lady Tigers win the 4x800 relay during the Class 6A state meet at Rogers Heritage, then won the 800 in 2:20.28 and the 1,600 in 5:11.43. ... Became one of the few girls to break 5 minutes in the 1,600 when she had a personal-best time of 4:59.76 during the Bulldog Relays in Fayetteville. ... Also had the state's best time in the 3,200 this season when she ran it in 10:49.87 at the West Relays.
DID YOU KNOW? Robinson will continue her running career at Villanova as an invited walk-on in both track and cross country.
QUOTABLE "Honestly, I couldn't have asked for a much better season. Everything I wanted to get done, I pretty much got it done and even had a little surprise in the 2-mile. I never expected to run a 10:49, and it was super fun. I ended up loving that race. I was glad I did it and got some experience out of it. I was a little disappointed with the 800 this year because I had a little higher hopes for it, but I still got a PR in that event. Obviously, I was happy with the mile and broke 5 (minutes."
Girls Athlete of the Year
SCHOOL Pea Ridge
POSITION Sprints/hurdles/jumps/shot put
THE SCOOP One of the most well-rounded athletes in the state, Winn finished her high school career by winning the Arkansas High School Heptathlon with 4,274 points. ... Broke the Class 4A state record in the 300-meter hurdles with a state-best time of 45.36 seconds. ... Was also the Class 4A state champion in the 100 (12.62 seconds), the 100 hurdles (personal-best 15.10) and the long jump (personal-best 18-6.75, second-best performance in the state). ... Jumped into track immediately after playing in the Class 4A state basketball tournament, and she split her time between track and softball, where she played in the Class 4A softball championship one day after winning the heptathlon. ... Signed a national letter of intent to run track at Pittsburg State.
DID YOU KNOW? Winn provided Pea Ridge coach Heather Wade with a pleasant problem to have when it came to the Class 4A state track championships. Between state automatic qualifying performance and what she did in the 4A-1 Conference meet, Winn qualified for 10 events at the state meet during her freshman and senior seasons with the Lady Blackhawks, and nine events during her sophomore season.
QUOTABLE "It was very hard to balance both track and softball and have two practices a day, but it's something I won't regret. We had good seasons in both. Knowing I didn't have a season last year in either softball or track made things even more special for me. The heptathlon will be something I remember the most. It was one of the most fun things to compete in, and knowing this was my last go-around. It was fun and relaxing and not very stressful."
Player of the Year
SCHOOL Van Buren
THE SCOOP Finished the season with a perfect 14-0 record and a 0.77 ERA with 121 strikeouts and just 10 walks over 82.1 innings pitched. That included a complete-game four-hitter against Jonesboro in the Class 5A state championship game. ... Struck out 10 or more batters on five occasions, including a season-high 15 against Vilonia and 13 against Greenwood in the Class 5A state semifinal game. ... Played center field when he didn't pitch and usually hit fifth in the Pointers' lineup, where he had a .290 average with four doubles, one triple and 24 RBIs.
DID YOU KNOW? Johnson, who signed a national letter of intent to play at Central Arkansas, allowed three earned runs in Van Buren's conference opener against Greenbrier. He never allowed another earned run in the other seven league games he pitched.
QUOTABLE "It was awesome. We accomplished something that had never been done before, and it means so much to this community that we were able to win a state championship. That was the most fun part of it, and it was fun to do it with guys I've played with my whole life. I was able to get better and leading us to a state championship was awesome. Going out there every time I was pitching and knowing we were going to win was the greatest feeling."
Coach of the Year
SCHOOL Rogers High
THE SCOOP Melson took a team with no varsity experience and guided the Mounties to a 25-7 record and a Class 6A state championship with a 3-2 victory over Springdale Har-Ber in the title game. ... Rogers, which enjoyed the luxury of playing on a new on-campus field this spring, tied Har-Ber for the 6A-West Conference championship with identical 11-3 records, but the Mounties took the league's top seed for the state tournament through a head-to-head tiebreaker. ... Defeated Conway and North Little Rock to reach the title game.
DID YOU KNOW? Rogers couldn't have come much closer to going undefeated in 6A-West play since all three of the Mounties' losses were by one run apiece, and four of their wins were by two runs or less.
QUOTABLE "It was a dream run for us. There were zero expectations for any of our kids. We had 17 seniors last year, the Covid year, and thought that was the best team we ever had. These guys really jelled from the beginning. There was a camaraderie about them. We played in so many close games, and to win the conference championship and state title that way was unheard of. They seemed so comfortable with each other, and what stood out was nobody cared who got the credit."
Payton Allen, Bentonville, Sr.
All-state shortstop signed with Kansas, hit .404 with 2 home runs, 10 doubles, 7 triples and 19 RBIs.
Kent Carlisle, FS Southside, Jr.
All-state pitcher/infielder had a .449 average with 6 home runs, 9 doubles and 20 RBIs.
Myles Harvey, Farmington, Jr.
All-state pitcher compiled a 9-2 record with a 1.40 ERA and struck out 76 over 65 innings.
Landry Jurecka, Greenwood, Jr.
All-state pitcher had a 5-2 mark with a 1.17 ERA and had 91 strikeouts in 59.2 innings.
Cole Keylon, Harrison, Sr.
All-state pitcher/outfielder hit .380 with 2 home runs, 10 doubles, 6 triples and 32 RBIs, was 5-1 with 8 saves.
Noah Moore, Lincoln, Sr.
All-State catcher/third baseman hit .489 with 5 home runs, 10 doubles and 28 RBIs
Tyler Ridley, Springdale Har-Ber, So.
All-state pitcher had a 7-0 mark with 4 saves, had a 1.12 ERA with 70 strikeouts in 62.2 innings.
Duke Walker, Paris, Jr.
All-state player has committed to Missouri, hit .464 with 5 home runs, 9 doubles, 31 RBIs and 20 stolen bases.
Jackson Wells, Rogers, Sr.
All-state pitcher/third baseman was 9-1 with a 1.28 ERA and 108 strikeouts over 71 innings, hit .330 with 1 home run, 7 doubles and 17 RBIs.
Tucker Bradley, Huntsville, Jr.
All-state catcher hit .464 with 5 home runs, 9 doubles, 4 triples and 26 RBIs, also had 15 stolen bases and scored 24 runs.
Brenan Cash, West Fork, Sr.
All-state player hit .443 with a home run, 3 doubles, and 1 triple and 26 RBIs; had a 7-2 pitching record with a 3.57 ERA and struck out 56 over 49 innings.
Ross Felder; Springdale Har-Ber, Fr.
All-state pitcher/infielder was 6-2 with a save and a 1.90 ERA with 61 strikeouts over 44.1 innings, hit .287 with 5 doubles and 29 RBIs.
Eli Marcotte, Rogers, Jr.
All-conference catcher hit .280 with 9 doubles, 3 triples and 23 RBIs, made the diving tag to end the 6A state championship game.
Randon Ray, Booneville, Jr.
All-state shortstop hit .461 with 2 home runs, 2 doubles and 1 triple with 26 RBIs, also had 35 stolen bases.
Sean Rhodes, Shiloh Christian
All-state pitcher/first baseman had a 2.38 ERA and 94 strikeouts over 50 innings, hit .429 with 10 doubles, 21 RBIs.
Haden Roark, Van Buren, Sr.
All-state outfielder hit .384 with 11 doubles, a triple and 23 RBIs hitting leadoff for the 5A state champion.
Casey Shipley, Prairie Grove, Sr.
Split time between catcher, third base and pitcher, hit .500 with 10 doubles, 3 triples, 2 home runs and 31 RBIs; was 6-2 with a 3.03 ERA and struck out 59 batters.
Tanner Wade, Fayetteville, Sr.
Had an 8-3 record with a 1.48 ERA with 71 strikeouts and earned all-state honors, is headed to the U.S. Naval Academy.
Player of the Year
POSITION Second base
THE SCOOP The dynamic senior lead-off batter belted a career-high 10 home runs to power the Lady Tigers to the Class 6A state championship. Five of Perry's 10 homers came in her first at-bat. On the season, Perry batted .490 with 16 doubles and 49 RBIs. She finished the season with a 1.503 OPS and was named to the 6A all-state team and was the Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Arkansas. She is headed to the University of Central Arkansas to play softball.
DID YOU KNOW? Perry did not focus solely on softball until after her sophomore season. She played both basketball and volleyball initially. She walked away from basketball after her freshman season and did not play volleyball after her junior year. She credits playing additional sports as a key to being more athletic in softball.
QUOTABLE "My success this season was because of work in the weight room and Coach (Kent) Early. We hit for hours and we had multiple weight room workouts. Coach Early said that the weight room is where you're going to get your power, so that's basically what I worked on. Workouts and BP after that and I just kept practicing and working on technique and the success came in the games. I did not like the weight room at first, but it became something that I grew to love. I definitely enjoyed it more as the years went on.
"Getting a home run in the lead-off spot is something Coach Early stressed because it gives your team the momentum, it sets the tone. So that's what I went up there to do. There is no better feeling, trust me."
Coach of the Year
SCHOOL Pea Ridge
THE SCOOP Reynolds led the Lady Blackhawks to their first state title game appearance in 2021, where they finished runner-up in Class 4A to Morrilton. ... Reynolds has coached in Pea Ridge for 14 years, the only school he has coached at. ...
DID YOU KNOW? Reynolds graduated from Harrison High School in 2002, where he played baseball for Kurt Bock. Bock advised Reynolds to apply for an open coaching position at Pea Ridge after he graduated from College of the Ozarks in Missouri. He had never been involved with or coached softball prior to taking the coaching position at Pea Ridge. Reynolds is part of the Billy Bock coaching tree as a player for Kurt. Billy Bock is regarded as the best baseball coach in Arkansas prep history. In a game as a senior pitching for Harrison, Reynolds said it was the most nervous he's ever been in a game with Kurt Bock in one dugout, Billy Bock coaching Pine Bluff in the other dugout and momma Bock behind home plate.
QUOTABLE "The kids played well. We knew we had some challenges coming in. Beating Farmington (in the Class 4A state semifinals), we knew we would have to play close to perfect to win and the kids performed very, very well. We knew that this year's senior class had some talent, it was just putting the pieces together. To the kids' credit, we were able to move some of them into their secondary positions, which helped us and the kids performed well, They did everything we asked them to do and did it to the best of their ability."
Madi Conklin, FS Southside, Sr.
Arkansas signee batted .454 with 7 doubles, 23 RBIs and 22 runs scored
Kenzie Derryberry, Bentonville, Sr.
Senior SS led team to 6A state title with .426 batting average, 9 homers, 34 RBIs, 57 runs scored
Carson Griggs, Farmington, Sr.
Colorado Christian signee batted .455 with two 6 homers and 43 RBIs; 24-3 in the circle with 200 Ks and a 1.819 ERA.
Madison Heinle:Rogers, Sr.
Led team to No. 2 seed in 6A West with .368 average, 22 RBIs; 10-4 in the circle with 148 Ks and 1.089 ERA.
Ryen Rassi, Bentonville West, Sr.
Purdue signee as a catcher batted .377 with 11 homers, 31 RBIs and 31 runs scored with a 1.401 OPS.
Alleyna Rushing, Bentonville, Jr.
Dynamic outfielder batted .480 with 356 hits, 26 RBIs and 36 runs scored for 6A state champions.
Ally Sockey, Greenwood, Sr.
Arkansas signee batted .561 with 55 hits, 18 doubles, 36 RBIs and 36 runs scored with a 1.515 OPS.
McKenzie Vaughan, Bentonville, Sr.
Missouri State signee was 19-2 with 0.587 ERA and 129 Ks; Batted .352 with 5 homers and 35RBIs
Blakelee Winn, Pea Ridge, Sr.
Pitt State signee led team to 4A state title game with .506 average, 6 homers, 19 RBIs and 44 runs scored.
Grace Boatwright, Farmington, Jr.
Led team to Class 4A semifinals with .522 average, 13 homers, 50 RBIs and a 1.668 OPS
Aiden Dayberry, Pea Ridge, Sr.
Arkansas Tech signee was 20-6 with 201 Ks and 2.018 ERA; Batted .393 with 16 RBIs and 20 runs scored.
Lexi Franklin, Booneville:Fr.
Led team to 3A semifinals with 24-3 mark in circle with 222 Ks and 1.73 ERA; Batted .519 with 6 homers, 49 RBIs.
Jadyn Hart, Paris, Sr.
Led team to 3A semifinals with .518 average, 11 homers, 33 RBIs; 35 stolen bases; 22-10 in circle with 335 Ks, 1.653 ERA.
Emma Kate Jackson, Rogers, Sr.
Led team to 6A West No. 2 seed with .452 average, 13 doubles, 2 homers, 27 runs scored out of lead-off position.
Cailin Massey, FS Northside, Sr.
Top all-around player with .477 average, 7 homers, 20 RBIs; 8-4 in th4e circle with 157 Ks and 3.258 ERA.
Chelsi Possage, Greenwood, Sr.
Arkansas signee batted .396 with 40 hits, 11 doubles, 18 RBIs and 34 runs scored from lead-off position.
Kadence Stafford:Bentonville, So.
NWA's top underclassmen batted .432 with 35 hits, 6 homers, 23 RBIs and 30 runs scored with a 1.153 OPS.
Shayley Treat, Farmington, Sr.
Shortstop and lead-off hitter batted team-best .527 with 58 hits, 14 doubles, 5 homers and 29 RBIs with a 1.346 OPS. Signed with Labette College.
Player of the Year
SCHOOL Van Buren
THE SCOOP Rodriguez helped lead the Pointers to a 5A state championship and a 21-2-1 record with a team-leading 29 goals and a team-leading 16 assists. ... In the championship game of the state tournament, Rodriguez scored a goal three minutes into the game then assisted on the game-winning goal to Kylan Almond with about 17 minutes left. ... He was named the MVP of the state finals. ... Rodriguez scored the lone goal in the Pointers' regular-season finale to clinch the 5A-West conference title, which was Van Buren's first since 2006. ... He scored early and often to start the season with 11 goals in the initial 10 games this year. ... Rodriguez played a key role in 13 different Pointers scoring goals this season with his passing ability. He was asked to control the ball a lot in the style of play the Pointers used during the season. ... Rodriguez twice scored three or more goals in one game, including scoring all three in the first half during one occasion. ... His season-high was four goals in one contest.
DID YOU KNOW? Rodriguez isn't originally from Van Buren. He grew up in Sallisaw, Okla., but the school doesn't field a soccer team. Rodriguez moved to Van Buren as a freshman to play with travel ball teammates and get a chance to play high school soccer, something his older brothers didn't get to do.
QUOTABLE "It was an awesome season. But at the end of the day, it is all thanks to my teammates. Without them, I wouldn't have the goals. They pass the ball and get me in good spots. I am surrounded by a lot of great players. This team wasn't just one player. Even though covid took away our season last year, I thought we'd make a run this year. I knew we had it in us. I love Van Buren and love playing with this group of guys."
Coach of the Year
SCHOOL Van Buren
THE SCOOP Almond guided Van Buren to its second soccer state championship in program history and a 21-2-1 record. ... He coached the team to its first title in 2006. ... Van Buren had three players earn all-state honors (Pedro Rodriguez, Jose Zarate, Adalberto Flores) while six other players earned 5A-West all-conference honors (Manases Delafuente, Kylan Almond, Chris Mendoza, Pedro Vilela, Isaac Ochoa, Fernando Romero). ... The Pointers captured their second-ever conference championship this season (last one was in 2006). ... Van Buren won double-digit games in league play this season for the first time in program history. ... The Pointers finished with a dominating goal differential of 16 in state tournament play, which was 12 more than the team with the second-highest goal differential. Van Buren allowed just one goal in the entire state tournament in four games. ... Van Buren only lost two games all season with both to Russellville, who was downed in the 5A state championship game by Van Buren. ... Almond's son, Kylan, scored the game-winning goal in the state finals with about 17 minutes left in the second half. ... Almond, a graduate of Bentonville High, has been at Van Buren since 2000 and has been the head man for all but two years in program history. ... The Pointers finished the season with 89 goals and allowed just 11 in 24 games.
DID YOU KNOW? Almond is a farmer. He inherited about 60 acres and he has cattle, chickens and donkeys on his property. It is his hobby that helps him relax from the grind of everyday life.
QUOTABLE "It's impossible to put into words how good the year was. I knew they were talented. But there were so many unknowns dropping down a classification playing new teams and without having a season last year causing a loss in development. It was a great year and a great group of kids. They worked hard. They did what they needed to do to get it done. The season played out like it was a movie script. I'm really proud of my guys."
Emmanuel Almavaz, Rogers Heritage, Sr.
Center back helped the War Eagles advance to the Class 6A state semifinals with 1 goal and 3 assists. Named to the all-state team.
Franklin Cortez, Siloam Springs, Sr.
Scored 24 goals with 19 assists (tied school record) on a team that went 16-4 in Class 5A. Named to the all-state team.
Henry Gomez, Springdale Har-Ber, Jr.
Helped the Wildcats advance to the Class 6A state semifinals. Scored 4 goals with 7 assists. Named to the all-state team.
Erick Guerrero, Springdale, Sr.
Powered the Bulldogs to the Class 6A state championship by scoring 11 goals with 5 assists. Scored 2 goals in the title game. Named to the all-state team.
Lleyton Hull, Bentonville West, Sr.
Goalkeeper for the Wolverines averaged 8 saves per game. Named to the Class 6A all-state team.
Antonio Hurtado, Rogers Heritage, Sr.
All-state forward scored 9 goals and added 9 assists for Class 6A state semifinalists.
Jesus Oropeza, Springdale, Sr.
Center back was a force for 6A state champs. Also scored 1 goal and added 1 assist. Named to the all-state team.
Emerson Ortiz, Green Forest, Sr.
Top scorer for 3A state champions with 41 goals on the season and 10 assists. Named to the all-state team.
Jacob Valverde, Springdale Har-Ber, Sr.
Helped the Wildcats advance to the Class 6A state semifinals by scoring 6 goals with 3 assists as a defender. Named to the all-state team.
Andrew Wagner, Bentonville, Sr.
Powered the Tigers' offense with 15 goals and 11 assists. Named to the Class 6A all-state team.
Graham White, Fayetteville, So.
Top defender for the Bulldogs but scored 3 goals on the season to earn Class 6A all-state honors.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
THE SCOOP Had 14 goals and 10 assists as a senior for Class 6A state champions. ....Voted team MVP and MVP of the state tournament. ... scored three goals and added two assists in state tournament for the Lady Bulldogs, who finished 17-0-3 on the season.
DID YOU KNOW? Wilburn will attend the University of Missouri, where she expects to major in bio chemistry.
QUOTABLE "I'm really blessed to receive this because there's a lot of really good soccer players in Northwest Arkansas. Winning the state championship for Fayetteville with my teammates and coaches is the best way to end my soccer career."
COACH OF THE YEAR
SCHOOL Bentonville West
THE SCOOP Spent 10 days in the hospital, where he was given less than a 50 percent chance of survival after contacting covid-19 in 2020. .... Missed eight weeks of school before returning and leading Bentonville West to state finals in Class 6A. .... Coached for nine years at Cabot and three months at Siloam Springs before arriving in Centerton for Bentonville West. ... Also coached for six years at Sheridan and two years at Greenbrier.
DID YOU KNOW? Castillo coached both the boys and girls soccer teams at Sheridan.
QUOTABLE "I appreciate the thoughts and concerns people have expressed, especially with everything this team had to go through. These girls just kept clawing and finding a way to win games even when we didn't have everyone. They found a way."
Jourdan Badely; Rogers; Sr.
Arkansas State signee who finished with 19 goals and eight assists as a senior. ... Totaled 52 goals and 30 assists for her career.
Lauren Magre, Fayetteville, So.
Led Fayetteville with 17 goals and eight assists as a sophomore. ...All-state and all Class 6A state tournament team. ... had three goals and two assists in state tournament.
Tianna Jones; Bentonville West; Fr.
Leading scorer as a freshman for Bentonville West, the state runners-up in Class 6A. .... Finished with 11 goals and five assists despite missing six games with a leg fracture.
Haley Woodward; Fayetteville; Sr.
Senior goalie who had 61 saves and posted nine shutouts in 18 games. .... All-State player who is a candidate for Arkansas Gatorade Player of the Year. .... Signed with Houston.
Clare Barger; Harrison; So.
Scored 34 goals and 12 assists in 19 games for Lady Goblins. ... Standout athlete who got a late start in soccer after helping Harrison to state finals in basketball. ... All-Conference, All-State
Olivia Pall, Harrison, Jr.
Scored 23 goals and had 20 assists for Lady Goblins. ... All-Conference, All-State Tournament team
Bri Anderson; Siloam Springs; Sr.
Senior forward who led Siloam Springs to a 14-4-1 record. ... Leading scorer with 23 goals and six assists for Lady Panthers.
Madie Race; Siloam Springs; Sr.
Senior forward who had 14 goals and 12 assists for Lady Panthers. ... signed with Evangel College.
Kimberly Lopez; Green Forest; Sr.
Had 16 goals and eight assists in 15 games for Green Forest, the state runners-up in Class 4A. ... Scored a season-high five goals against Lincoln.
Kayla Hurley; Bentonville; Fr.
Top playmaker as a freshman for Lady Tigers. ... led the team with 12 goals and eight assists
Maddie Meyer; Bentonville; Jr.
Voted 6A-West Conference defensive player of the year. ... Compiled 10 clean sheets in 19 games.