CONWAY — The Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star week activities last week were a good experience for several local coaches and athletes.
Seventeen athletes and four coaches from the North Little Rock/Maumelle/Sherwood area were on the rosters for the events in Conway.
"I had a good time," said Central Arkansas Christian volleyball coach Cade Smith, an assistant on the East squad. "We had a good group of girls and fun coaches to work with.
"It’s a fun deal. I’m glad it’s in Central Arkansas. I think it will be a big hit. At least it was for us."
The All-Star activities returned to Conway and the University of Central Arkansas this year for the first time since 2002 after a decade at the University of Arkansas.
Smith coached Logan Tolbert, his Lady Mustang star, one last time before both head on to the college game. She has signed with Southern Arkansas; he leaves this week for his new job as an assistant at Alabama-Huntsville.
He also got to work with North Little Rock’s Myeekadra Johnson, who will play at Arkansas-Monticello.
"To get to watch (Tolbert) play with some other high level players who are going on to play at the next level was fun," Smith said. "(Johnson) was a good kid and fun to be around. It was good to get to meet new kids and see what they and their coaches like to do."
The West prevailed in a five-game match, 25-22, 22-25, 25-11, 19-25, 15-9.
During All-Star Week, Smith roomed with Jonesboro coach Craig Cummings, another East assistant.
"He was coach at (Arkansas State) for 12 or 13 years before going back to high school, so he’s got a lot of experience," Smith said. "He coached some college ball in California and for years here, and he’s a wealth of knowledge. I enjoyed picking his brain."
Smith’s first action with Huntsville will be at a tournament at Henderson State in Arkadelphia in early September. Ironically, Tolbert and SAU will also be in the field.
CAC’s Joey Pinney and Maumelle’s Jacob Hollingsworth were on the winning West baseball squad. The West won the doubleheader, 2-1 and 6-1. Pinney got the win in the second game. Alex Gosser of North Little Rock played for the East.
The teams split the softball doubleheader. The East won the first game, 10-8; the West prevailed in the second, 8-1. The East roster included Jeana Canady of Sylvan Hills and North Little Rock’s Anthony Cantrell as an assistant coach.
The West, including CAC’s Brooke Creblich, won the girls soccer game, 4-3 on penalty kicks after a scoreless regulation. The East squad included Elyse Albright of Maumelle; Naomi Gregory or Sylvan Hills and Katie Van Pelt of North Little Rock.
The East, including North Little Rock’s Jack Fleming, won the boys soccer game, 3-1 on penalty kicks, after regulation ended, 3-3. CAC players Beau Barnes and Dylan Sherrill were on the West roster.
The North Little Rock contingent of Thomas Alexander, Dayshawn Watkins and coach Johnny Rice (head coach) helped the East to a 98-50 blowout in the boys basketball game. It was the largest margin in the 57 years of Arkansas’s All-Star games. Alexander scored 13 points, four rebounds and three assists and was named the East’s most outstanding player. Watkins had 18 points, four rebounds and three assists.
The East also won the football game, 16-13, with North Little Rock representatives Gerald Watson and Gary Vines and coach Brad Bolding as an assistant.