Among the fans in attendance at the Magazine Rattler Run last Thursday was the head cross country coach from the University of the Ozarks. There to watch local long distance runners form around the area, the Ozarks’ head man had Mansfield senior Megan Rose on his must see list.
Jeremy Provence is the man in charge of the U of O’s cross country teams. Sometime after Rose completed the unusually short 1.5 mile run for high school girls, the college coach made it a point to stop by and have a conversation with Rose.
“It was pretty cool to have a college coach in attendance,” said Mansfield Coach John Mackey. “He told Megan he had been tracking her career online for the past few seasons. He knew her career best time and was aware of her progress over the years.”
To date Rose has had correspondence with coaches from Hendrix, Lyons, Arkansas Tech, Ozarks, and a small school down in Louisiana. Since her senior season started two weeks ago, this was the first time an university representative has gotten to see the Tiger product in actual competition since last year’s state meet.
Rose was clocked running the 1.5 mile race in 9 minutes and 38 seconds. The measurement was fifth among the nearly one hundred runners competing in the senior girls race.
Typically, Rose and her teammates run competition races that cover a 5K distance or 3.1 miles. The shorter race was used at Magazine because of the extremely hot temperatures that popped back into the area at week’s end.
“The shorter races aren’t Megan’s best events,” stated Mackey. “She likes the longer runs. She can maintain a high level pace for a long, long time. She’s not as fast as many of the other runners over a short distance. But, few can keep her pace over the long haul.”
Rose won the Fort Smith Invitational back on September 9. That course was the traditional 5K distance. At Magazine, her mark over the more sprint like shorter event was fifth overall and third in her division.
Mansfield senior Natalie Brewer, a first time cross country runner, made a memorable debut by placing 30th among the large number of entries. Teammate Corrina Wesley followed directly behind at 31st.
As Wesley explained it, the door for her to cross ahead of others was opened when Brewer made a surge near the finish line.
“That girl ahead of us gave up the fight after Natalie passed her near the end,” explained Wesley to her coach. “She slowed down when she couldn’t hold off Natalie. I slipped right past her as well.”
Mansfield sophomore Lennon Woods had her first race of the season at Magazine. The River Valley All-Star from a season ago, had been hampered by shin splints. She missed several days of training and the team’s first meet at Ben Geren Park.
“Lennon has been bothered by soreness in her legs,” revealed Mackey. “This was her first hard run in about a week and a half. I thought she did well for her first time out this season.”
Woods was Mansfield’s second best performer at the Rattler Run. The sophomore rising star ran 10:32 for 25th place overall.
Jesse George completed the Lady Tiger’s top five scorers. Newcomer Addison Goetz and veteran Bree George filled the displacer roles.
On the men’s side, the Tigers entered foreign exchange student Joris Felius and senior Devon Pyles.
According to their coach, both have been concentrating on the 5k distance and the pace required for that longer race. The short sprint of the men’s 1.5 mile race was run at a level the pair was not used to.
“It’s a little misleading when you get thrown into a sprinter’s race,” explained Mackey. “The muscle memory is different. Our guys have built a body clock for the longer distance. It’s hard for them to rev it up on the short sprint.”
Felius finished 26 overall among a large crowd of runners. His time was 8:28. Pyles crossed in 38th place. His stopwatch clicked at 8:40.