Josh Balentine won it.
Watson Chapel’s standout runner almost broke the 50-second barrier in winning the state championship in the 400-meter dash Thursday at the 5A state meet at Hot Springs High School. Balentine’s winning time was 50.02 seconds, beating Hot Springs Lakeside’s Michael Lydon by .72 second.
Balentine’s victory was the only score for Watson Chapel, but the run also lowered his state-best mark by .16. He ran 50.18 last week in the 5A-South District meet at White Hall.
In Heber Springs, Sarah Claycomb added track state championships to go along with her cross country title.
Claycomb won the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs Thursday at the 4A state meet, backing up her role as the favorite in those events after pulling off a sweep of the distance events at the 8-4A District Meet. She helped Monticello finish fifth in team standings.
Claycomb lowered her state-leading time in the 1,600 by just .46 second. Her winning time was 5 minutes, 28.20 seconds. Her 3,200 time of 11:58.31 was more than three seconds off her state-best this year.
Meanwhile in 4A boys action, a Stuttgart athlete earned a championship of his own and Dollarway took third place in team standings.
Herman Hampton of Stuttgart won the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 39.82 seconds. He was fifth in the 110 hurdles at 15.92, just .06 behind fourth-place P.J. Binns of Monticello.
Dollarway did not win an event, but took second place in five events and finished with 62 points.
Joshua Liddell had two second places, in the 400 dash (51.46 seconds) and triple jump (43 feet, 6.75 inches). Quincy Harris of Maumelle won with a 43-9, but it was still a foot shy of Liddell’s state-best mark.
Henry Murphy was second in the 100 dash (11.11 seconds), just .05 behind Heber Springs’ Ethan Bly, who swept the sprints. James Smith of Dollarway took fifth (11.21) and Derrance Smith of Monticello was eighth (11.43).
Kabion Ento came in second in the high jump (6-2), and the Dollarway 4x400-meter relay team finished runner-up at 3:34.10.
Other finishes from Southeast Arkansas athletes:
In the 200, Smith was fifth (23.18); in the 800, Jacob Chisom of Monticello was third (2:04.66); in the 4x100-meter relay, Dollarway was third (43.41) and Monticello sixth (44.39); in the 4x800, Dollarway was fourth (8:45.49); in the pole vault, Julian Jackson of Monticello was sixth (11-0); in the long jump, Lavonta Gardner of Star City was fifth (21-3.75); in the shot put, Jeremiah Young of Dollarway was fifth (44-10.25) and Darian Washington of Star City sixth (44-0.25);
In the triple jump, Gardner was seventh (41-1.75) and in the discus throw, Imani Riley of Monticello was third (125-0).
Heber Springs won the boys title with 116 points, followed by Nashville with 67. Crossett won the girls title with 192.5, followed by Heber Springs with 62 and Nashville with 44.