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Expectations Run High For Mansfield Jr. Boys


Posted Date: 09/15/2022

Four of the Mansfield junior boys are in their third season together as a cross country team. Seasoned at an early age, the experienced distance racers are starting to see positive results. This past week the crew enjoyed a pair of runner-up team plaques at two different races.

Fresh off their second place team total in Magazine on Tuesday, the young Tigers did it again in an even larger meet in Elkins on Saturday, September 10.

“Elkins hosted one of the largest meets in the area,” stated Mansfield coach John Mackey. “Our players were not intimidated by the sight of over 200 runners in the race. These freshmen have been battling since the seventh grade. Their experience is starting to pay off.”

Mansfield’s junior boys cobbled together their second trophy run of the week in the very large 1A-3A divisional race in Elkins. The squad was supposed to run at Ben Geren Park in Ft. Smith but that race was canceled due to the unexpected death of Southside High School cross country coach Aaron Kareus.

“We didn’t want to lose a meet,” expressed the coach. “We completely understood the circumstances that canceled the meet in Ft. Smith. When that tragic news broke, we tried to keep some semblance of normalcy and looked for another opportunity to race. Elkins, although two hours away, was very accomodating.”

Mansfield’s young guns were led by ninth grader Joey Williams. The team’s number one ranked runner for the last two seasons finished in second place for the two mile course in 13:02.77. His compadres added to the mix helping accumulate 82 points in a 10 team setup. 

Because of the large number of scoring squads, points were at a premium. West Fork took the winner’s trophy with 42 points. St. Joseph crossed in third at 102 points.

Jonah Martin, Braxton Bartlett, and Joseph Carter were the other three freshmen running for the Tiger’s junior team. All are in their third season having established league credentials from past seasons.

At Elkins, Martin (18th) and Bartlett (45th) finished in the squad's scoring five. Carter (46th) maintained a blocker’s position for the second consecutive meet.

Eighth grader Gunner Williams medaled with a sixth place small school finish. His time was 14:08.62. Seventh grader Hunter Whittaker climbed to 25th with his first two mile mark in 15:15.82.

Mansfield’s Trinity Triska was the only other Tiger athlete to secure a medal at the Elks Invitational. The sophomore All-Star completed the season’s first 5K race in 23:59.58 for 8th place in the senior girls division.

Teammates Addie Bowman and Ashley Martin crossed in 23rd and 26th place for the MHS women.

The trio did not qualify as a team as the squad was reduced due to the venue change.

Abby Smith, a seventh grader competing in her first meet, ran well for the Lady Tiger junior girls. The diminutive runner started fast, helping push the pace of the top competitors. Her unfamiliarity with the longer two mile race brought her back in the pack leaving her outside the top 15 at 27th position.

“Abby has a lot of talent for this sport,” expressed Mackey. “She has the build and the desire to be good. The more running reps she gets you’ll see that time shrink and the rewards increase.”

Smith was not alone in her debut race. Classmates Adeline Bray, Miley Clopton, and Bailey Quick also toed the line for their first cross country race.

“These girls have a lot of pride and a desire to compete,” continued the coach. “I’m proud of how they took on the challenge of such a big race. There were 184 runners in their heat alone.”

Lilly Young, another Mansfield seventh grader who was in her third race of the season, joined the debut racers. 

Together the MHS junior girls had their first chance to score as a team this season. They finished ninth overall.

What stood out was the fact that Smith and Bray finished as the second and fourth fastest runners among 1A-4 conference opponents in attendance.

 

 

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Mansfield School District
402 Grove St.
Mansfield, Arkansas 72944
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Phone: 479-928-4006
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