Parkway's Alison Ringle / Courtesy of Randy Kingfisher
Earning USA Track and Field Junior Olympic All-American status may have its perks, but getting a plane flight back from Greensboro, N.C., apparently isn’t one of them.
Parkway’s Hayden Kingfisher and Alison Ringle were driving back from North Carolina on Sunday evening with stops planned in Atlanta after earning All-American recognition for their efforts in the USATF Junior Olympic Nationals.
Ringle finished third in the women’s 17-18 division 3,000-meter run with a 10:38.05 and sixth in the women’s 1,500-meter run with 4:45.10. Kingfisher ran a personal best 4:07.58 in the boys’ 15-16 division 1,500-meter to finish sixth. All competitors finishing in the top eight nationally earned Junior Olympic All-American status.
“It was pretty exciting for both of these young people,” said Parkway track coach Kent Falting, who spent the weekend in North Carolina with his long distance duo. “For Alison to finish third in her first trip to this competition is huge. And to come back the next day and run well in the 1,500 is a tough double.
“Hayden ran a personal best against some of the best competition in the country. There was a girl out here who ran a 25-something in the 200 hurdles. Our school record at Parkway in the 200 without hurdles is about 25 seconds. That’s the kind of athletes who were here.”
Ringle and Kingfisher received medals along with a Junior Olympic cap after making the 14-hour drive.
“I was pleased, and I feel blessed, but I couldn’t have done it without a great coach and family support,” Ringle said. “I ran both my races different than usual, because I’m used to running by myself. I just went out and stayed with the pack.”
Kingfisher endured the 14-hour drive with his father and showed up well in his fourth consecutive trip to nationals.
“I wasn’t nervous because it was basically the same as my AAU races,” Kingfisher said. “There were some crazy times posted and it was nice to see some of the other athletes.”
Thomas Pollard won the boys 1,500 in 3:59.75.
“He came out real fast, and I just tried to trail off him,” Kingfisher said. “I did more training this year and was more fit than I’ve ever been. I thought my race went well, and I don’t have any regrets. I was able to get a great PR.”
In addition to the Parkway duo, Doyline’s Shelbie Waln finished three spots out of All-American status in the 17-18 women’s shot put with an 11th place throw of 39 feet, 10 inches. Waln had a best of 41-7 in the shot heading into the meet. Had she thrown that in North Carolina she would have finished in the top eight.
College recruiting is heating up for Ringle, who is heading into her senior campaign as a Lady Panther. The speedster doesn’t appear to be in a hurry to make a decision, however.
“There are a lot of options out there, but I haven’t narrowed anything down,” she said Sunday. “I’m not sure what schools I want to visit.
On the elementary level, 10-year-old Karrington Stewart of Shreveport, competing in the girls 9-10 division for SPAR, won the 100-meter event in 13.31 and the 200-meter in 27.25, both personal bests for the Summerfield School fifth grader. She teamed with Jada Anderson, Kandace Law and Cyntericka Gatson to capture first place in the 4x100 relay in 55.25.