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story.lead_photo.caption Allie Hensley of Clinton held a 139-point lead after Day 1 of the state high school heptathlon and pulled away in the final round of events Thursday to win the competition with 4,393 points. - Photo by Stephen B. Thornton

CABOT -- It was a three-year climb, but Clinton senior Allie Hensley made it to the top of Arkansas high school heptathlon ladder.

Hensley, a top-five finisher the past two years, won the 20th annual event with 4,393 points at Panther Stadium.

She placed fifth as a sophomore in 2015 and third as a junior last year. On Thursday, she gave Clinton its first heptathlon winner.

Hensley, an Arkansas State University track and field signee, took pictures with fellow participants, coaches and family members, got straight to the point when discussing her victory.

"It's much better than losing," said Hensley, who won Class 3A state championships in the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles and the long jump earlier this month.

Rivercrest junior Sydney Lane finished second with 3,908 points. Springdale Har-Ber junior Reaghan Smithpeters was third with 3,898 points.

Rounding out the top ten were Russellville's Tamera Rhode (3,896 points), Pocahontas' Natalie Toney (3,863), Little Rock Parkview's Johnaya Givens (3,837), Vilonia's Ally Swaim (3,785), Rogers' Hannah Martin (3,752), Genoa Central's Eden Crow (3,747) and Maumelle's Claire Luallen (3,716).

Hensley earned third-place finishes Wednesday in the 100-meter hurdles (15.76) and the discus (101 feet, 6½ inches) and entered Thursday in the lead with 2,517 points.

It wasn't smooth sailing for Hensley on the second day, especially in the high jump.

She tied for fourth at 4-11, while Lane won the event with a clearance of 5-7.

Next up was the shot put, an event Hensley said Wednesday wasn't one of her strongest.

But Hensley's toss of 34-¾ was good enough to place fifth, and it put her at 3,692 points going into the 800-meter run, Thursday's third and final event.

"The shot put is a good event to be mad in," Hensley said. "I was not very happy."

Hensley clinched her victory with a fifth-place finish in the 800 (2:29.36), good for 701 points.

Rhode, running in the same flight with Hensley, checked in with the third-best time of 2:24.84.

Cabot's Lauren Turner ran the best 800 time Thursday, at 2:15.98. Turner picked up 879 points. Lonoke's Gracie Hyde came in at 2:22.57.

Gentry's Chastery Fuamatu won the shot put with a throw of 37-4 and earned 620 points. Crow was second (37-1.25) and Mills' Cetra Dale was third (36-0.25).

Lane, who is considering competing in track and field at ASU, was fifth in last year's heptathlon and was second Thursday. Her first-place finish in the high jump helped cement her second-place standing.

"I knew what I had to do to stay close to Allie. That was my goal," said Lane, the Class 3A record holder in the high jump at 5-7. "That's what was going through my mind today."

Hensley finished third at the Class 3A state meet in the high jump. But as she looked back at her past two seasons in the heptathlon, Hensley said she knew she had to perform better in the shot put and 800 to make up for the high jump.

"I didn't do very well," Hensley said of the high jump. "But instead of concentrating on that, I had to think forward and move on. That's the only way to do better."

Sports on 05/19/2017

Print Headline: Hensley steps to the top

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