Posted Date: 11/14/2019
For the first time, some of the most decorated cross country runners in the River Valley area are headed to Mansfield for the Farm Bureau River Valley All-Star meet.
At 10 AM on Saturday, November 16, Mansfield will host the top 20 women and top 20 men from multiple counties in a post season event for the ages. Previously hosted by Magazine for several years, the opportunity for Mansfield to host the All-Star cross country race arose because of the retirement of longtime Magazine coach Randy Bryan.
“Coach Randy Bryan started this showcase several years ago,” stated meet director John Mackey. “His vision was to give the best of the best small school kids another opportunity to run once the state meet was complete. When he quit coaching, we decided it was an event that was worth keeping. So, we volunteered to host the race.”
For the past month, Mackey has been running virtual cross country races with the athletes from 25 different schools in classes 1A through 4A. Each week a watch list was generated ranking the top 5K times for those River Valley athletes. Players were moving up and down the rankings similar to the college football rankings that get posted each week.
After the Arkansas Activities Association state championships last weekend, the final rankings were calculated. An invitation list rating the top 20 women and top 20 men from the small school divisions was then released.
Coaches were asked to confirm their athlete’s participation in the post season all-star race. As invitations were accepted, the actual all-star rosters were completed.
A list of the next 20 best was also submitted and used as an alternate’s pool. This was necessary in case a top invitee was committed to the larger ATCA Arkansas-Oklahoma All-Star race or had early season basketball obligations.
“It looks like most of the first round runners are going to make the race on Saturday,” stated Mackey. “It should be quite a race.”
The coach went on to say. “We are excited Farm Bureau Insurance has partnered with us to make this a real treat for the hard working kids in this area. Each participant is awarded an All-Star jersey, an all-star medal, and an afternoon lunch. They also get to race for additional awards. It should be fun.”