Posted Date: 11/12/2021
After the state cross country championships are over, many of the small school runners look forward to one more race. As host to the 2021 River Valley All-Star meet, Mansfield will accommodate that urge by extending an invitation to the area's top players.
Mansfield will host the postseason exhibition race on Saturday, November 13 at 10 AM along the grounds of the high school campus. In cooperation with Scott County Farm Bureau Insurance agent Roger Thompson and local manufacturing company West Fraser, the Tigers welcome top notch talent from up to eight surrounding counties.
“Roger Thompson from Scott County Farm Bureau Insurance has sponsored our awards for the past few years,” Mansfield meet director and All-Star committee leader John Mackey stated. “He has put his stamp on this all-star program and made it special for the kids. Now, West Fraser has joined in the cause and is providing the hospitality for all the athletes, coaches, and volunteers. These two sponsors are remarkable advocates for student achievement and together will make this meet spectacular for all involved.”
A watch list was updated weekly over the last five weeks of the season. A final invite list ranked runners from class 4A down to 1A in the River Valley area and beyond. The idea which was originally hatched by Magazine head coach Randy Bryan was an effort to collect the top small school runners in the local area that may not otherwise be recognized.
A different state affiliated all-star meet invites the state champions from each classification and the next 19 fastest runners to a Northwest Arkansas meet. The issue with that has been the larger 6A NWA schools tend to dominate that invite list leaving off the cream of the crop small school runners. Magazine and most recently Mansfield has solved that issue by creating and hosting this competition for the sometimes equally talented small school runners.
“We invite the top 20 men and top 20 women from the small school rankings after the state meet is over,” Mackey said. “An alternate list is also manufactured to assure a full field. Players that accept the invite are given all-star medallions, keepsake jerseys, and a luncheon. All players are introduced beforehand and then we race for more medals.”
This season, Mansfield, behind the strength of its state runner-up finish, looks to occupy six of the 20 nominations on the women’s side. As of press time, All-State runners Darby Jones and Laney Wood will lead the MHS compact. Faith Rainwater, McKenzie Griffin, Trinity Triska, and Jadelynn Wood will populate the other Lady Tiger positions.
Acorn, Clarksville, Dover, Pottsville, and Waldron also have multiple entries among the women rankings. Dardanelle, Mena, Scranton, and Subiaco add heavy flavor to the men’s race.