Posted Date: 09/19/2022
Mansfield distance runners scored a total of seven medallions at the Tom Stuthard Stampede in Acorn on September 13. Behind solid runs from their most experienced runners, the team had another good showing as the early season has begun to take shape.
Freshman Joey Willimas once again showed why he is becoming one of the top runners along the local circuit. The long distance specialist rallied across the 1.5 mile landscape in a time of 9:35.10 for third place overall against 121 total finishers.
“Joey can be one of Mansfield’s best known runners if he stays connected and focuses on the task at hand,” noted Mansfield head coach John Mackey. “It’s pretty cool that opposing coaches already know his name and cheer for his successes.”
With Williams fronting the lead ship, the MHS junior boys paddled with force to take the team to a third place finish. Teammates Gunner Williams (11th) and Jonah Martin (20th) gave a medal effort in the cause. Each finished as Top 20 medalists to boost the Tiger score.
“Jonah’s form is really taking shape,” pointed out his excited coach. “He's starting to use his long legs. His running form is becoming more and more efficient as he regularly reaches the medal stand as a rising freshman star.”
Completing the Mansfield junior boys score was Joseph Carter (40th) and Hunter Whittaker (41st). Holden Powers and Braxton Bartlett offered displacer credits to the team score.
As a unit the younger Tiger men finished third in the team standings with 96 points. Big school DeQueen ran away with the title with 73 points. Waldron closed in second place with 75 points.
Mansfield’s Laney Wood, who’s quickly becoming a veteran despite her sophomore status, checked in at 9th place overall along the longer Acorn senior girls 5k race. Having moved up to the high school team at the regional finals last season, the Lady Tiger’s typical number one runner rounded the Stuthard Stampede in 24:39.80.
“This is Laney’s first 5k race of the season,” offered Mackey. “This was a good round to knock off the rust. She knows she’ll need to drop about three minutes to get to her best time from last season.”
Wood’s effort at the Polk County based race still stood tall among the 91 entries. The sophomore’s time was only bettered by seven big school runners, six of which hailed from Ft. Smith Southside, and another racer ranked as the state’s top 2A runner.
As a group Mansfield fell behind only Southside and DeQueen in the team rankings. Mansfield was the top small school team in attendance.
Mansfield’s Jadelynn Wood crossed in consecutive order just behind her younger sister Laney. The senior’s time was 25.08.00 for 10th place.
That score along with Trinity Triska (19th), Addison Bowman (45th), and Raine Hecox (49th) placed the MHS senior girls team in third place with 90 points.
“The season is way too early with only a few 5k races in the books,” said Mansfield’s long time coach. “But, the early numbers have Quitman and Mansfield as one and two in the class 2A state team rankings. We need our top seven to get dialed into practice and target the prize.”
Triska, based upon her Elkins 5k run from the previous week, ranks as the number three runner in the 2A state with a mark of 23:59.58. Laney Wood comes pegged at 12th with a 24:39.80 finish for the slightly longer Acorn 5K. Jadelynn Wood stands in at 14th along the 2A pecking order with her 25:08.00 Acorn clocking.
The Lady Tiger top trio all earned top 20 medals at the Stampede.
Mansfield’s seventh race reward at the Acorn invitational cross country meet was earned by seventh grader Rylan Jones. Jones placed 14th overall in a time of 12:16.10.
This was Jones’s third medal out of four cross country meets this season. The rookie runner has steadily positioned herself as the team’s top junior girl.