Harding Academy won the team championship with 151 points, 73 points ahead of runner-up Jessieville Thursday.
Head Coach Mike Keese said it was huge for the Lady Wildcat freshmen to perform as well as they did.
“We’ve had three freshmen running with us all year in Haley Smith, Riley Rose and Kaylin Turley,” he said. “Riley and Kaylin had a great night [Thursday] and we had five girls in the top 10 in individual points.”
Turley won three individual events for Harding Academy and finished No. 1 in individual points with 31.5. She finished first in the 800-meter run in 2:33.21, first in the 1600-meter run in 5:41.51, and first in the 3200-meter run in 12:51.98.
Rose took top honors in two individual events, winning the 100-meter dash in 12.61 seconds, and winning the 200-meter dash in 26.44 seconds. Rose was also a member of two relay teams that took first place. Along with Tory Mote, Mary Margaret Kirkman and Anna Grace Kirkman, Rose finished first in the 4×100-meter relay in 51.01 seconds. Rose, Mary Margaret Kirkman, Sarah Coleman and Kathryn Phillips also took first place in the 4×400-meter relay in 4:14.54.
“Over the last several years we’ve developed some depth,” Keese said. “And this year, we had a wealth of sprinters we were fortunate to have on our team. When we started the program four years ago, we only had nine people on the team, five upperclassmen and four freshmen. Last year, we had 20 members and won state, and this year we have 29, and those four freshmen are now seniors. They’ve established a tradition that will be hard to stop. They’re special young ladies and I’ll hate to see them go.”
In top-three finishes, Mary Margaret Kirkman took second in the 100-meter dash in 12.93 seconds, and Coleman took third in 12.94. Coleman also took second in the 200-meter dash in 26.44 seconds.
Kathryn Phillips finished second in the 300-meter hurdles in 49.31, and third in the 100-meter hurdles in 16.35.
The team of Turley, Caddisy Ramsey, Caitlyn Spears and Lynley Crowell took third in the 4×800-meter relay in 10:48.99, and Braeghtyn McAleese finished second in the discus throw with a distance of 103-05.
SEARCY – Harding University officials announced Monday that the athletic department will be adding the sport of women’s softball to the list of intercollegiate sports beginning in the 2013-14 school year.
“Adding softball is something we have discussed at Harding for a long time,” said Harding athletics director Greg Harnden. “With our move to the Great American Conference, we feel like the timing is right.”
Harding had softball in 1983, 1984 and 1985 and won the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference championship in both the ’84 and ’85 seasons, but discontinued the softball team following the 1985 season because no other schools in the AIC planned to field teams during the 1986 season.
Speaking to an assembly of more than 3,400 students, Burks said workers have begun site preparation for a $12 million project to build 84 new apartments on the Searcy campus.
The plan approved by the school’s board of trustees at its May meeting calls for the apartments to be ready for use by the beginning of the fall semester 2012. The new apartments will house approximately 200 students.
Sixty-four apartments will be built on the west side of the campus to expand housing for women and married students. There will be one-, two- and three-bedroom units. The apartments will be built on an area bordered by West Pleasure, Dr. Jimmy Carr Drive and East Park Ave.
Burks told students the new facilities are unlike any of the current apartments on campus.
“The apartments will be built in the new urban town concept. The apartments will actually be in 15 separate buildings,” said Burks. “Each building will have its own distinctive look and exterior color scheme.”
He explained to the assembly the new structures on the west side of campus would definitely change the look of that portion of the campus. Once the initial units are completed, the West Apartments located in the same area will be torn down and replaced with more apartments with the urban town look. The demolition of the West Apartments will occur within 18 to 24 months after the new units are built. The West Apartments were built in 1974.
Burks pointed out the University needed the additional apartments this fall as the enrollment surged more than five percent.
“We must have these new facilities if we are to keep pace with our rapidly growing student body,” he said. “We must anticipate our needs for the future. Harding already has approximately 800 applications for fall 2012. At that rate we’ll have more than 2,500 applications for the coming school year.”
While the 64 units are being built, another 20 apartments will be constructed on the east side of campus at the Village Apartments. Burks said the additional units at the Village Apartments will have a much more traditional look, identical to the 60 units already in use at that location. The 20 new apartments will be used to house male students.
Cone Construction of Little Rock will mange the construction of the 64 units on the west side of campus. Bids will be opened next week to select the company to build the 20 units on the east side of campus.
Financing for the $12 million project will come from bonds authorized by Searcy’s Public Facilities Board. Rent charged to Harding students to live in the apartments will be the source of income needed to retire the bond issue.
Harding University in Searcy has posted a record enrollment for the 25th consecutive year, eclipsing the 7,000 mark for the first time in the school’s history.
Total headcount enrollment is 7,155, which compares to 6,810 in fall 2010. The 2011 total represents a 5.1 percent increase.
Undergraduate enrollment is 4,340, up 3.3 percent from last year’s total of 4,201. Graduate enrollment is up 7.9 percent to 2,815, which compares to 2,609 graduate students last year.
“This year’s enrollment represents a healthy growth for us,” President David Burks said. “The across the board growth is a reflection of not only the caliber of the University’s academic offerings, but also an indication of the affordability of the Harding experience.”
Of the number of undergraduates enrolling, 1,311 were new students. The student body represents all 50 states and more than 50 foreign countries. The school received a record 2,504 applications from new students for the 2011 fall semester.
The significant growth in the number of graduate students was the result of the College of Pharmacy adding its fourth year class, the beginning of the school’s new doctorate program in physical therapy, and an increased enrollment in the graduate communication sciences and disorders program.
“Harding’s enrollment has grown by approximately 20 percent since 2005,” said Dr. Jim Carr, executive vice president. “Enrollment topped 6,000 in 2006, and in just five years we have topped 7,100. The future looks bright because we already have more than 700 applications for the fall 2012. It appears we are well on our way to another record number of applications.”
Harding is recognized by Peterson’s Competitive Colleges and has been ranked for 18 consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report as one of the South’s best universities in the magazine’s annual America’s Best Colleges issue. The University is also recognized by Princeton Review as one of the best universities in the Southeast.