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Sunday, July 14, 2024

XC Scoring Glitches Pull MHS From Top

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Pictured: Mansfield senior high cross country runners enjoy a moment with former state champion and Mansfield alum Hannah Holstein at the Ft. Smith Invitational. The Lady Tigers finished just behind Poteau for the small school championship.

The awards were announced. Pictures with the first-place plaque were already taken. Then a chaotic scramble of events ensued. Next thing you know, Mansfield’s senior girls had to return their number one plaque and fall back to second place overall at the Fort Smith Invitational cross country meet on Saturday morning at Ben Geren Park. 

A personal record by Darby Jones and medal-making positions by Faith Rainwater and Jadelynn Wood seemed like enough to put Mansfield into first place in the small school division. Unfortunately, it was determined some time later that a few other runners were left off the scoring table as a selection of chip times failed to register.

Lady Tiger McKenzie Griffin’s high placing was left out of the system. Her corrected score actually boosted the Mansfield mark and further cemented what was already thought to be the winning margin. However, upon further review, another discrepancy was caught. That corrected mistake inserted three high-profile Poteau players among the top rankings to shuffle the leader board once more.

MHS senior Darby Jones sets a personal record at Ft. Smith for the 5K race. Jones was second place overall and the small school champion

Finally, after some twice reviewed hidden figures, Mansfield’s scoring five were ranked 1, 6, 8, 12, and 15 for 42 points. Poteau’s recalculated positions put them at 2, 4, 7, 9, and 10 for 32 points and the win.

“It was disappointing not winning the team trophy,” said Mansfield Coach John Mackey. “If we hadn’t already posted pictures and well wishes maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad. However, to our credit, we ran much better times overall than Tuesday when we won. That’s really what we’re working for anyway is better times.”

Jones was among the best as far as times went on Saturday. The Lady Tiger senior blazed the reconfigured Ben Geren course in 21:42.4 for a new personal record for a 5K race. That mark was good enough for the top spot among small school racers. It was also second-best overall, falling just 10 seconds behind the winner, Aubree Wille of Van Buren.

Rainwater came in 6th among small school players with a time of 24:08.7. She was closely followed by Wood who knocked out an 8th place small school time of 25:05.7.

Joey Fildes of Mansfield has medaled in three consecutive meets. His latest was a silver medallion at Ft. Smith

Griffin went 25:47.9 as the Lady Tiger’s number four scorer. Hope Rainwater crossed in 27:48.2 as the team’s number five. Katlynn Moore offered the displacer points as the group’s sixth person.

In the junior girl’s division, Laney Wood once again was at the top of her game. The freshman sensation posted a 14:21.6 to win the small school individual championship. She was 4th overall among all divisions behind a power trio of big school Greenwood runners.

“Laney is a winner,” exclaimed Mackey. “Right now she and Darby are running really well and have a chance to do something special because of their work habits.”

The Mansfield prep team could only forge out a fourth-place team placing despite Wood’s huge contribution. The group was short-handed due to a school volleyball tournament that took away three of the team’s runners.

Mansfield freshman Laney Wood has won two meets in a row among her division rivals

Addie Bowman, Aidan Fildes, Ashley Martin, and Rileigh Parker rounded out the team total on this day.

The Mansfield junior boys showed their mettle for the mid-morning run as they collected a second-place team trophy. Joey Fildes pushed hard through the 2-mile double loop to take 2nd among small school competitors. He was 10th overall with a time of 13:01.0.

“Joey has a chance to be really good as well,” commented Mackey. “He has a high energy level that’s suited for cross country. Now, we have his little brother and siblings make natural rivals that push each other even further.”

Fildes was indeed supported by his seventh-grade brother, Gunner Williams. Williams medaled as the 6th best small school runner. He was 17th overall among 135 total runners with a mark of 13:34.1.

Jonah Martin missed a top 10 award by one place. He ran well for the Tiger boys as its third scorer. Rylan Nichols and Joseph Carter rounded out the runner-up team score for Mansfield. Braxton Bartlett was the lone blocker for the MJH men.

Tiger cross country runners Braxton Bartlett, Joseph Carter, Joey Fildes, Rylan Nichols, Gunner Williams, and Jonah Martin take second at Fort Smith
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