Lonoke’s Gracie Hyde finished 20th last week in her debut run through the Arkansas High School Heptathlon.
Hyde, a junior, scored 3,343 points over the two-day, seven-event competition.
“I had a lot of fun,” she said. “There were a lot of different events that as a distance runner I never get to do. So that was fun to do different things.”
Hyde scored 1,752 points in Wednesday’s first day of competition to stand 31st. She ran the 100 hurdles in 18.59 seconds for 429 points; long jumped 14 feet, 8.75 inches for 426 points; threw the discus 66-1.25 (280) and clocked 28.17 in the 200 (617).
“I ran a little over a second PR in the hurdles, so I was doing pretty good,” she said. “I missed out on some points in the long jump. I’m not really used to it, but I did decent. In the discus, it took a couple of tries because I threw a couple out of bounds, but I’m glad I marked. I was relieved. I threw 66, and we only thought I’d throw around 60. I did OK in the 200. I didn’t get a ton of points, but I was able to hang in with my flight. It was hard.”
On Thursday, she high jumped 4-5.25 for 460 points, threw the shot put 23-4 (342) and posted the day’s second-best time in the 800 with 2:22.87 (789). That mark was second only to Cabot’s Lauren Turner, who ran 2:15.98. Turner finished 26th overall with 3,173 points.
“Coming back Thursday, I wanted to get a lot of points,” she said. “I’d high jumped once earlier in the season, but there were more events I was familiar with. I didn’t have the right steps in the high jump. I didn’t clear as high, but I made up for it in the shot. I was expecting around 22, so I made up a little bit there.
“I did a lot better in the throwing events than we’d expected. Then I wanted to come to the 800 and get as many points as I could.”
Hyde, who won the Class 4A state cross country title in November and the 800 and 1,600 at the Class 4A outdoor meet, had finished sixth in the 800 at the Meet of Champions the previous week in 2:22.19. She had run 2:19.65 in the state meet. Her personal best is 2:18.1.
“By the time I got to the 800, I was pretty drained, but I was looking forward to it since I knew I could shine,” she said. “Only one other distance runner was there (Turner).
“I was just trying to do the best I could in each event. After first day when I was 31st, Coach (Angela) Watson and I set a goal that I would be in the top 20. I wanted to do better than the others in 4A, and I got second.
“There were nine groups, and they put you in groups of how they think you’ll place. I was in the sixth group, so I did better than they predicted I’d do.”
Watson said a top-20 finish was excellent for the first-timer.
“I was hoping for a top-25,” she said. “She’s a distance runner. She’s dabbled a little in the 300 hurdles and high jumped here or there, but she’s never thrown the shot or discus or done the sprints. Her main thing was the 800 or longer, and for her to be in the heptathlon really pushed her abilities. I believe she’ll be better next year.”