High schoolers test athletic skills at UAM

MONTICELLO — Two Junction City juniors and a Fordyce senior dominated the ESP Boll Weevil Combine on Thursday night at the UAM Indoor Practice Facility.

Senior Charles York of Fordyce posted gold with a 4.29-second 40-yard dash, followed closely by junior Joshua Armstrong of Junction City at 4.49.

“The ESP Boll Weevil Bowl is an opportunity for Southeast Arkansas youth to participate in a combine,” said L.R. Tyson, ESP physical therapist and certified strength and conditioning specialist. “It also allows coaches in the state to see results of athletes that might not be able to make it to the big combines.”

“These guys run this just like the big combines, but it has less pressure,” said Jeff Mason of Junction City. “You know they [ESP] aren’t making any money doing this. The only difference between this and the big combines is the big combines have a sight-start for the 40 and here they go on sound.”

Also the big combines do not have mini-eligibility clinics at the end of the combine. Nat Grubbs, physical therapist and orthopedic clinical specialist, explained to the athletes that they need to watch what courses NCAA considers core courses.

“And the NCAA wants most of those core courses completed before you begin your senior year,” Grubbs said. “So you cannot wait until senior year and load up on those courses.”

Junction City’s Jaquis Dancy and Armstrong both had six top-five finishes and York had five.

Dancy tied with Monticello junior Isaiah Foster with a 36-inch vertical jump. Dancy also tied with York for first place in the standing broad jump with a 10-foot-2 effort.

Kaaion Parker, a McGehee sophomore, ran the three-cone, “L” drill in 6.83 seconds for the best time in that event. Dancy was close behind with a 6.93.

York posted a 4.03-second 5-10-5 pro agility drill, followed by Dancy who had a 4.20.

Taylor Mason, a Junction City junior, took the top spot in the bench press with 14 repetitions of 225 pounds. Dancy finished second with nine reps of the same weight.