It was a really good week of practice for the Mansfield junior girls cross country team. That was according to their coach. By the results of the Van Buren Pointer Classic on Saturday, Oct 13, he was right.
“The weather changed, and our kids’ finally had cool temperatures to train much harder,” said Mansfield coach John Mackey. “Wednesday and Thursday were really positive. It carried over into today’s meet.”
Mansfield’s prep team got out and competed so well that they took the Van Buren championship. A 24 point total outran conference rival West Fork for the small school division’s top prize. West Fork was second at 35 points.
The Lady Tigers did a tremendous job of pack running. Each of the 13 participants paced with a partner and pushed each other in a good way. The results were waves of Mansfield products reaching the finish line in close proximity.
Race place evidence revealed Mansfield junior girls crossed at 5th and 7th place among the 1A-4A grouping. Then places 12th, 13th, 14th, 16th, and 17th were all Red Tigers. Next came completions at the 20th, 21st, 24th, and 25th positions. Then 29th and 30th place were filled by MJH players.
Faith Rainwater (14:22.56) and Olivia Bouse (14:40.53) ran nearly the entire 2-mile race step for step. The pair took the top two spots for the scoring Mansfield five.
Hope Rainwater (15:14.02), Jadelynn Wood (15:14.70), and Shelby Cole (15:15.05) closed in consecutive order to complete the Mansfield score.
McKenzie Griffin (15:33.33) and Harleigh Mars (15:38.22) crossed soon after filling the displacer roles and giving the Lady Tigers seven players in the top seventeen places.
Rookie runner Raine Hecox, a Mansfield seventh grader, gave the squad an eighth runner in the top 20. Teammates Heidi Ebarb, Darby Jones, and Lita Hecox made it eleven Tigers in the top 25.
Eden Mounts and Lauren Poston rounded out the victorious Tiger squad as they landed in the top 30.
“The younger girls are reaping the results of some good mileage workouts,” stated Mackey. “Faith and Hope put in extra time this week. Jadelynn and Olivia are finding out how good they can be with growing confidence. Shelby is long and athletic. McKenzie and Harleigh are feeling better after bouts with health issues.”
The junior team will have a final tuneup at the Magazine Run on Tuesday, October 16. They compete at the District 3A-1 West conference race on Saturday, October 20 at Waldron.