FAYETTEVILLE -- Four Siloam Springs track and field athletes participated in the annual state decathlon/heptathlon on Wednesday and Thursday, May 17-18, at Ramay Junior High School.
Senior Esther Norwood and junior Jeri Roy both set the school record in the seven-event heptathlon, while junior boys Silas Tugwell and Cooper Church competed in the 10-event decathlon.
"The decathlon/heptathlon is my favorite track meet of the season," said Siloam Springs boys coach Chuck Jones. "You get to see the best athletes in the state come together and show what they've got. To compete in 10 and seven events in two days at a high level at the end of a long season is pretty physically challenging. I love it.
"The best decathlete in the nation, Razorback Ayden Owens-Delerme, spoke to the kids before the meet and talked about how he tries to focus on effort instead of performance. Control what you can control. It's easy for kids to look at young men like future Razorback football player Shermar Bracy and be intimidated when he is in the starting blocks beside you. No, control what you can control. I am proud of these four Panther athletes. They represented Siloam Springs well."
Norwood and Roy have been a potent 1-2 scoring combo for the Siloam Springs girls track team all season, and Thursday proved to be no different.
Norwood set a school record for points in the heptathlon with a two-day total of 3,451, breaking the only minutes old record set by Roy of 3,298. Coming into the event, the previous record was set by Kristen Moeller of 3,283 in 2003.
"It's fun to watch them compete against each other and at the same time wholeheartedly support one another," said Siloam Springs girls track coach Sharon Jones. "They are sweet friends."
Norwood's score was good enough for 19th place overall, while Roy was close behind in 23rd place.
"Esther will hold the record this year, but Jeri will return next year to go for it again," Sharon Jones said.
Roy set her total score after running a time of 2 minutes, 58.81 seconds in the 800 meters, finishing 45th in the event.
"Both girls were gunning for our school record in the heptathlon," Chuck Jones said. "After her 800 meters, Jeri said, 'Coach I got it.' We we're so happy for her."
About 30 minutes later, Norwood finished 14th in the 800 meters with a time of 2:33.76.
"The great thing about both girls is that they were both genuinely happy for each other," Chuck Jones said.
On Wednesday, both Roy and Norwood competed in the 100-meter hurdles, long jump and 200-meter dash.
Roy clocked a time of 16.36 to finish 11th in the 100-meter hurdles, while Norwood was 28th at 17.58.
Norwood placed 11th in the long jump with a mark of 16 feet, 6 inches, while Roy was 13th at 16-3.25.
Norwood placed 36th in the 200-meter dash at 28.56, while Roy was 40th at 28.69.
Roy placed 22nd in the discus at 69-9, while Norwood was 46th at 57-2.
Both placed 25th in the high jump at 4-7 on Thursday, which was a personal record for Roy and close for Norwood.
Norwood took 33rd in the shot put at 24-11.25, while Roy was 57th at 21-10. Both closed out the event with the 800.
Fayetteville's Ava Goetz won the heptathlon with a score of 4,509, while teammate Julia Gunnell was second at 4,442.
A total of 67 girls athletes competed in the two-day event.
Tugwell finished 29th overall with 5,004 points in the decathlon, while Church placed 49th with 4,294.
"Silas and Cooper both performed well in the 10 events," Chuck Jones said. "Silas had top 20 performances in the 100 meters, long jump, high jump and triple jump, while Cooper was in the top 20 in the pole vault and discus. I think they both had memorable experiences. With a little work in a few events Silas could be a top 15 performer. Coop just gets along with everyone. He had a lot of fun and was fun to watch. I am proud of them both."
On Wednesday, Tugwell finished 15th in the 100-meter dash at 11.51 seconds, while Church was 60th at 12.41.
Tugwell had his best finish in the long jump, placing 10th at 20-9.75, while Church was 57th at 17-7.
Tugwell placed 31st in the shot put with a throw of 32-11.75, while Church was 45th at 31.75.
Tugwell finished in a four-way tie in the high jump at 5-10.75 with Church 46th at 5-1.
Tugwell then finished Wednesday with a time of 55.06 and 30th place finish in the 400-meter dash, while Church was 44th at 57.2.
Church opened up Thursday with a time of 19.08 in the 110-meter hurdles, while Tugwell was 49th at 19.51.
Church placed 18th in the discus with a throw of 94-7, while Tugwell was 38th at 83-2.
Church's best finish of the day was his 13th place mark of 10-8 in the pole vault with Tugwell placing 42nd at 8-2.5.
Tugwell finished 19th in the triple jump at 40-8.25, while Church was 61st at 34-0.75.
Tugwell placed 38th in the 1,500-meter run at 5:36.00, while Church was 55th at 5:52.32.
Clinton's Brody Emberton won the decathlon with 6,429 points, followed by Cooper Williams of Fayetteville with 6,425 points. A total of 66 competitors finished the event.