Even though they don’t have as many participants as last year, the Maumelle Lady Hornet track team is making a push to compete for a state title.
Last year, the Lady Hornets had more numbers but didn’t score as many points. This year, they have quality finishes and have already qualified for state in several events by getting as much as they can from the girls who are competing. Competing against 5A, 6A and 7A schools, Maumelle has finished second in three meets and has broken several school records.
"We are one of the top three teams in AAAA," Maumelle Coach Rodney Gilmore said. "We have some freshmen who are coming around and have a bright future. We also have two seniors who are our leaders, and the young girls respect them."
The seniors guiding the Lady Hornets are Kayla Gamble and Kamiliah Phillips. Gamble has qualified for state in the 400 and 800 meters, and Phillips is getting scholarship offers. In addition to Gamble’s individual events, Maumelle’ has qualified its 4x100, 4x800 and mile relays. Those events have been comprised of different individuals including seven to eight different girls on the 4x100 relay.
Additionally, sophomore Caroline Sweet has qualified in the 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs and Akeia Joyner is about to qualify in the 400 and 800 meters. Gilmore also thinks some of the freshmen are on the verge of qualifying in the 200, 400 and 800 meters.
Gilmore has been tracking last year’s defending champion Crossett. He is always looking to see where Crossett and its athletes finish and in what time.
"I’ve been tracking them like a bloodhound," he said. "We are so close, and it will be interesting to see how the freshmen pan out in the next two weeks."
One thing Gilmore is impressed about is Maumelle’s success has come without the use of a track. He credits his coaching staff for the workouts it has developed utilizing the gym and the football field. If the relay teams need to work on a handoff, they go to the old Oak Grove track. Basically, though, training is done without a track.