A season that started for the core group back in July has come to an end. With the Southwest Regionals held at Acorn on October 25th, the Mansfield junior girls cross country team wrapped up the year with a runner-up team plaque. The junior boys closed with a third place prize.
Taking their cue from the high school players, six junior high athletes regularly attended summer practices. As it turned out, everyone of those early birds concluded a very successful season with individual medals and team plaques.
“It’s nice that those kids that dedicated themselves in the high heat of summer got rewarded,” said Mansfield long distance coach John Mackey. “It kind of sets a standard for the future.”
Mansfield’s youth movement was on high alert at the regionals. Billed as the Tom Stuthard Top 25, the final junior high race of the year saw 12 total underclassmen make the medal stand.
Eight grader Ethan Chapman and seventh grader Olivia Bouse led their respective genders to the Tigers’ highest places. Chapman was the overall silver medalists for the boy’s team running the 1.5 mile race in 8:56.1. Bouse took home bronze for the Lady Tigers completing the same distance in 10:23.9.
Faith Rainwater (7th), McKenzie Griffin (11th), Harleigh Mars (12th), and Jadellyn Wood (17) joined the third place Bouse for the Mansfield girls’ scoring unit. The 34 point total provided by the five put them just behind team winner Horatio at 24 points.
Lady Tiger Hope Rainwater medaled for the first time this season coming in at 18th place. She was the first displacer for MJH. Lita Hecox finished two spots away from her first medal serving as the Tigers’ second blocker.
Steven Perez (6th), Levi Escalante (11th), Tommy Phang (19th), and Dru Buckner (21st) completed the Tiger junior boys’ score. With second place runner Chapman, their collective 53 point total put them into third place overall as a team.
“Our number three runner didn’t make the trip,” informed Mackey. “That played tough since we were only two points away from the runner-up trophy.”
Seventh grader Darryl Little crossed at 23rd place for his first medal of the year. He was the Tigers’ first blocker. Fellow seventh grader Ashton Hinkle missed the top 25 by two pegs. He was the Mansfield men’s second blocker.
Acorn won the team title in the boy’s division with 33 points. Mena came in second at 51. Mansfield closed at third with 53.
The Stuthard Top 25 Regional event invites cross country teams from classes 1A through 4A that placed high in their respective districts. Both Mansfield junior high teams where the 3A-4 District Runner-up a week earlier.
Mansfield’s junior roster was completed by Malachi Fuller, Zac Desormeaux, Shasta Christopher, Serenity Brunson, and Bethany Sartin.