Pictured: The Mansfield senior high girls are pictured with the Class 2A State Runner-Up trophy along the grounds of Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs site of the 2020 Cross Country State Finals.
For the first time in school history, Mansfield High School brought home a trophy from the state cross country championships. No, it wasn’t for the first place state title. However, for a program that has never seen a major team award from the Arkansas Activities Association cross country finals, it was still a big deal. Mansfield earned the Class 2A State Runner-Up trophy at the 2020 women’s cross country state finals on November 5.
Mansfield, loaded with underclassmen, had 78 team points behind Lady Tiger top runner Faith Rainwater. Just a junior, the mighty mite rounded the 3.1-mile course along the infield of Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs at 22:55.30. That measure was good for eighth place and an All-State accommodation.
Sophomore Jadelynn Wood closed in twelfth place. Her marked time was a career-best 23:53.71. She was the second Mansfield athlete to cross the finish line.
Darby Jones of Mansfield was next in the scoring lineup for the Lady Tigers. The junior runner came in 21st place. She was pegged at a time of 25:04.82 over the moderately hilly course.
Cross country power Quitman had a front-loaded roster that put two runners inside the top 6. Their number three runner crossed just behind Rainwater at ninth. By the time their fourth and fifth scorers crossed at 13th and 17th place respectively, it was becoming clear they would be the Class 2A state champs.
Quitman did win the senior girls title with 36 points. Mansfield closed the ranks when Hope Rainwater and Katlynn Moore placed 32nd and 33rd respectively.
The Lady Tiger total was not enough for a shot at the championship trophy. It did however fend off a charging Melbourne bunch that garnered 94 points for third place in the team rankings in the girls division.
Mansfield’s first displacer was sophomore Alyssa James. The tiny tenth grader posted a 40th place time of 27:24.71. She had been in the Tiger scoring five the previous three meets.
McKenzie Griffin and Cassidy Carlton completed the active state roster for Mansfield.
John Branche and Ethan Streets participated in the men’s race at state.
Branche, a junior, had a solid time of 21:59.12. His mark was 48th place out of 105 runners in the 2A men’s division.
Streets, a first-time senior runner, completed the course at a pace that satisfied his first experience at a state championship. The former manager of the cross country team was proud of his accomplishments achieved in his first full season as a runner.