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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Tiger Teams Ring Van Buren Classic


Mansfield beat the rains and got in a four race schedule at Van Buren’s Cross Country Classic on October 13 before the skies soaked the area Saturday afternoon. Thank goodness for the window of opportunity as 17 out of 23 Mansfield runners set personal records on the day.

In cool, windy temperatures Mansfield athletes ran some of their best times of the season through all divisions on both the boys’ and girls’ sides. With the many personal records produced, several Tiger individuals got a chance to ring in a new tradition.

“We ran at the exclusive Chili Pepper run and saw some high profile schools from around the country ring a bell,” said Mansfield coach John Mackey. “It signified a record breaking day for runners. Our young kids immediately said they wanted a bell. Tiger booster Eric Christensen got us one.”

Seventeen Mansfield athletes got to ring the bell due to personal records they established in the large scale event at the Academy in Van Buren. Everything from a few seconds to nearly a five minute reduction highlighted a fabulous morning. Along with the PR parade also came a championship trophy by the junior girls.

“You look at who set records today and it warms your heart knowing they have been working hard enough to see results,” rejoiced Mackey. “This is the most PR’s in one day I can ever remember for our team.”

Janna Coplin and Josefin Lofving cut their 5K times by wide margins. Coplin a first time runner of any sort repositioned her best by 4 minutes and 44 seconds from where she started the racing season in September. Lofving knocked nearly a minute off her previous best established just four days earlier.

“Janna has been a discus thrower or volleyball player most of her career,” informed the coach. “ I’m so proud of what she has become trying a new sport in cross country running.”

Artem Zirka shaved another seven seconds off his record 5K time. The Ukrainian exchange student has improved 2 minutes and 12 seconds since the beginning of the season.

Twelve junior girls put up new margins leading to their capture of the championship plaque in the small school division at Van Buren’s Academy. The group collectively scored 24 points on route to the first place trophy.

Two junior boys also set premiere marks for themselves while one of the pair collected his third medal of the season.

Zac Desormeaux, Shelby Cole, Mikeal Harrison, Darby Jones, Harleigh Mars, Lauren Poston, Faith Rainwater, and Hope Rainwater all from the freshmen class bettered their 2-mile times.

Olivia Bouse, Lita Hecox, and Jadelynn Wood from the eighth grade class posted personal records also at the 2-mile distance.

Finally, seventh grade runners Heidi Ebarb, Raine Hecox, and Eden Mounts each finished the 2-mile course in a record time for themselves.

Among the 577 athletes that participated in the Van Buren Classic, 23 came from Mansfield. Among those 23, eight finished with medal honors.

Jessica George and Josefin Lofving off the senior girls team took home medals. The pair finished 11th and 15th place respectively in their race. George came across in her season best 26:43.83 while Lofving went career top time at 27:38.98.

Faith Rainwater, Olivia Bouse, Hope Rainwater, Jadelynn Wood, and Shelby Cole were among the top 15 places and received individual medals. Those same five were responsible for producing Mansfield’s 24 point team total. 

Faith Rainwater ran the fastest among the Lady Tigers with a 14:22.56 clocking. Bouse came in at 14:40.53 while the other three junior high girls scattered in with times under the 15:16 mark.

Mikeal Harrsion picked up his third medal of the season for the junior boys. His time was 12:47.05. He was the top junior boy for Mansfield and the only individual award winner.

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