The Vilonia track teams brought another dose of a healing ointment to a disaster-ravaged community Thursday night.
For the third straight year, the Eagles soared on the track. The boys won their third straight state 5A title in the meet at Harrison. They did it 11 days after an EF4 tornado destroyed much of the community.
They won it with 104 points, the same total as last year. Camden Fairview and Forrest City were second with 79.
In the last five years, the Eagles have a third, a second and three firsts at the state meet.
Vilonia was second in the girls division with 68 points. Magnolia won the title with 97 points.
For the second time in three years, the Eagles, with limited practice time, gave their community something to feel good about after a natural disaster.
Almost appropriately, the Eagles won after a 2 1/2 hour weather delay.
On their track shoes, just as they did in winning the 5A West meet last week, several Eagles wrote short tributes, prayers and/or ViloniaStrong on their cleats.
The Eagles were strong and dominant in the 800, 1600 and 3200 meters.
Zachary Rail won the 1600 and 3200 and finished second in the 800 meters, his 28 points outscoring 13 teams.
Vilonia’s Luke Matyja, Rail and Cody Moore swept the top three spots in the 800. Levi Otts and Jason Rail gave Vilonia a 1-2-3 finish in the 3200.
The Lady Eagles top points came with a third-place finish in the 4x400 relay. Eighteen of the Vilonia girls scored at least one point on the way to finishing second.
Greenbrier’s girls scored 12 points for 15th, led by Autumn Russell’s third-place finish in the 100.
At the meet, Harrison students presented the Vilonia coaches with a check for $2,400, raised through change donations from the students, toward relief efforts in the town.
"It just shows the human spirit is going to prevail," said Jon Steward, Vilonia girls coach.
Several of the Vilonia athletes had Isaiah 40:31 written on their shoulders, a Bible verse relating to finding new strength, soaring like eagles.
Vilonia athletes finishing in top three:
800: 1. Luke Matyja; 2. Zachary Rail; 3. Cody Moore
1600: 1. Rail.
3200: 1. Rail; 2. Levi Otts; 3. Jason Rail.
300 hurdles: 3. Jared Willis
High jump: 3. Cameron Wilkins
Pole vault: 2. Dylan Foster; 3 Tucker Richmond.
GIRLS 4X400 relay: 3. Vilonia.
7A STATE MEET
In the 7A state meet at Cabot, Conway’s boys scored 14 points to finish 14th among 15 teams.
Bentonville won the title with 96 points.
Kennedy King of Conway won the high jump at 6-5.
The CHS girls tied Springdale for seventh with 24 points. Bentonville won with 160 points.
The Lady Cats had no individual finishes in the top three.