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Alma’s Leonard Daniel Relays are Thursday 4/6/22

Alma’s Leonard Daniel Relays are Thursday

By Kevin Taylor

Alma Schools 


The Leonard Daniel Relays are set for Thursday at the Alma Intermediate School.


A total of 12 schools, including 5A-West foes Greenwood and Van Buren, will compete in the event. 


Alma sophomore Brayden Welch looks to continue his stellar spring performance. Welch won the 800 and 1600 last week at the Siloam Springs Panther Relays. 


He won the mile with a time of 4:46.80. Welch actually ran a better time (4:46.50) last month at the Greenwood Invitational, where he placed second to Greenwood’s Noah Embrey. 


Earlier this year, Welch placed seventh at the Van Buren Running Festival with a 4:52.76.


Like all good rivalries, Welch prefers to run against Embrey.


"I really like it better when I know there's a chance of me not winning," "When there is someone good, I can't pace myself and I'll get a better time. There's a kid from Greenwood (Embrey) who is really good, and he'll help me pace my time. 


"If he's not there, and I'm so far ahead of everybody else, I have no one pacing me.'


Christian White holds the school record in the 800 and 1600, respectively, with times of 1:57.67 and 4:26.61. 


Welch won the 800 last week with a time of 2:09.72. Teammate Jael Nunez was second (2:12.73). 


"The 800, I just give it my all," Welch said. "It’s more of a sprint for me, so I just give my everything."


Welch, who plays football as well, said he stumbled into running longer distances by accident.


"Cross country, that's really a funny story," he said. "One of my coaches (Thomas Mata) asks me to come run with them. I said, 'Cross country? What is that?' 


"When I got out there, I really loved the long distances. The shorter (sprints), they're really hard on my lungs. The longer races, I seem to have better stamina; I can go longer."


Welch also competed on Alma’s 4x400 relay team last week with Nunez, Shawn Rankins, and Drake Stogsdill. 


Sophomore Japheth Barnhill has shown steady improvement in the hurdles. On March 4, he placed seventh and eighth, respectively, in the 300 and 110 high hurdles. 


Last week at Siloam Springs, he was second in both the 300 and 110 hurdles. 


Alma senior Rebekah McIntosh is having a big campaign. McIntosh won the high jump and the 100-meter hurdles last week in Siloam Springs. She also won the high jump at the Greenwood Invitational. 


Leonard Daniel was a beloved Alma principal (1972-86) and former track and assistant football coach at Pine Bluff High School. A native of Paris, Daniel attended Oklahoma Panhandle State College of Agriculture and Applied Science in Goodwell, Okla.