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Another Trophy Day! Lady Tiger XC Team Runner-Up at State


Posted Date: 11/12/2021

Lady Tiger athletes must really enjoy this time of year. For the second consecutive year, Mansfield brought home two significant super-sized trophies in the span of five days. This recent hardware haul was the class 2A State Runner-Up trophy for girls cross country.

Call it Tiger deja vu, if you will. In 2020, Mansfield won the class 2A State Volleyball Championship. Five days later, Mansfield became the class 2A State Runner-Up in women’s cross country. One year later, the same two outcomes were once again recorded for 2021.

“If you look at the history of Mansfield cross country teams, this collective unit has to be considered one of the all time best,” Lady Tiger head coach John Mackey proclaimed. “We’ve had some great individuals, college bound runners, and an individual state champ. But, as a group this could be considered the most experienced and talented bunch that Mansfield has had.”

Mansfield’s nine person state roster was dotted with five seniors. Three of those, Darby Jones, Faith Rainwater, and McKenzie Griffin have garnered college attention. That experience mixed well with youthful exuberance as two seniors, two freshmen, and a junior posted the top Tiger times for the 2021 State Runner-Up trophy on November 4..

Laney Wood and Trinity Triska, both freshmen, finished in 5th and 14th place respectively at the Lake Hamilton hosted state championships on the infield of Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs. Those results added to seniors Jones at 6th place and Rainwater at 20th place. Jadelyn Wood, Mansfield’s lone junior, came in at 22nd place to complete the team’s trophy earning position.

Laney Wood, Mansfield’s fastest rising star, took tons of confidence into the state meet. Over the course of this year’s junior high season she placed first five different times. After moving up to the senior high for postseason meets, Wood placed top five at the Southwest Regionals and runner-up at the 2A-4 Senior District in her first two 5K races.

Wood went with the state front runners at the start and stayed close throughout the race. Pacing with MHS veteran Jones, the team’s number one runner and District Champion, the freshman phenom made her final sprint with about 200 meters to go. Possessing a more natural kick, Wood passed the Tiger senior down the home stretch posting a 21:38.95.

Jones came right behind her younger teammate in consecutive order at 21:44.74.

“Darby was disappointed with her overall result but happy for Laney,” Mackey said. “She really wanted more after being ranked as high as number three in the state during the season. It wasn’t her fastest day, but it was still pretty darn good. She beat her best Hot Springs’ time by 2:43 and came away with All-State honors. I’m proud of that.”

Because of their top eight placing, both Wood and Jones earned All-State honors and AAA state medals.

Triska wasn’t far behind the MHS leading pair. The ninth grade runner competing in only her second 5K of the season, crossed the finish line in 22:40.11.

“Trinity gave us a real shot,” the coach explained. “She passed about five girls in the final mile including three from Quitman, the eventual state champs. That push just didn’t hold up. The inexperience of running the longer race took its toll towards the end. No doubt, Trinity is an All-State caliber runner with more experience, and more reps.”

Mansfield closed its runner-up team finish with Rainwater (23:32.29) and Jadelyn Wood (23:46.28) completing the scoring five. 

Griffin who came in 30th place at 24:33.44 and senior Hope Rainwater who crossed in 44th place at 26:10.78 were the team’s top two displacers.

Aiden Fildes, an All-District freshman, and Katlynn Moore, the final senior, rounded out the state roster. Freshmen Ashley Martin and Addie Bowman made the trip as alternates. Both had secured All-District status upon their move to the senior high team for postseason play.

Quitman won the state title with 36 points. Their top four runners came along in consecutive order at 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th places. Their number five runner closed the deal with her 11th place finish.

Mansfield with 52 points took the runner-up spot for the second year in a row behind Quitman. Bigelow (65), Melbourne (76), and Tuckerman (148) rounded out the top 5 scoring teams.

 

 

 

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