Heber Springs cross country teams claim top 10 finishes in 4A

2019 Heber Springs Girls Cross Country Team
The 2019 Heber Springs Girls Cross Country Team. Pictured, front, from left, Allison Wildman, Katia Rubio, Waverlee Decker, Sydney Buffalo, McKenzie Becerra, and Natalie Buffalo. Back, from left, Taylor Hammons, Maddie Vowels, Sophie Lawrence, Maygan Jarvis, Ellie Riddle and Vallie Cantrell.

November 21, 2019

By LARRY “SCOOP” McCARTY

Heber Springs High School cross country teams capped a successful season by finishing among the top 10 at the Class 4A state meet in Hot Springs and two runners named to the all-state team.

The Lady Panthers, who were ranked third going into the state meet, finished third, with Sydney Buffalo selected to the all-state team. The Panthers, who were ranked 10th, claimed eighth place, with Nathan Poff named to the all-state team.

Poff finished 13th in the boys’ race, while Buffalo was 17th in the girls’ race.

“Our top five boys’ runners set personal bests,” Heber Springs head coach Dale Cresswell said. “The girls ran well. All I want every meet is for each runner go out and do their best.”

For the girls, Vallie Cantrell and McKenzie Becerra finished among the top 50 at 24th and 34th places, respectively. Taylor Hammons (52nd), Maygan Jarvis (54th), Sophie Lawrence (69th), Allison Wildman (89th) and Waverlee Decker (92nd) were in the top 100. Katherine Rojas was 120th.

Four boys’ runners finished among the top 100 — Parker Hill (57th), Gabe Tate (67th), Mason Harris (80th) and Brad Baker (90th). Reagan Buell (128th), Dalton Scoggins (168th), Scott Shatterly (168th) and Evan Burgess (192nd) also competed.

“Our standards at Heber Springs are always high,” Cresswell said. “We have a lot of good young runners, like Harris and Hill. Hill missed most of the season because of an illness. He ran at the conference meet and one of the reasons the team moved up two spots at the state meet.”

The future looks bright for both programs.

“We have a lot of good young runners coming up,” Cresswell said. “We have runners that will come up from the junior high team who can help us next year. Both teams worked hard all season. They will never hear any complaints from me when they work hard and do their best.”

Cresswell hopes momentum will carry over into the spring for track and field.

“All of them will be on the track team, but not just as distance runners,” he said. “We expect a few football players to compete. I expect us to have a successful track season. “

Little Rock finishes 7th at Memphis meet

August 31, 2019

By LITTLE ROCK SPORTS INFORMATION

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Little Rock Director of Track & Field/Cross Country J.P. Behnke set out to bring in a strong recruiting class. That new talent was on display at the season-opening Memphis Twiglight Classic with underclassmen posting top three men’s finishes and two fo the top three women’s finishes.

In all, the Trojan men finished seventh with all five scorers posting top-50 marks while the women placed ninth.

Sophomore Carter Reynolds paced the men with an 18th place finish, running the four-mile race in 21:07.45, while freshman Colby Swecker’s time of 21:24.22 placed him 25th. Sophomore Ricardo Banks ran 21:36.02 to finish 35th as three underclassmen led the Trojan men.

Junior Jarred O’Conner posted a time of 21:54.24 to finish 43rd while senior Emilio Medina ran 22:07.88 to round out the scoring five for Little Rock and bringing an upperclassmen presence to the top five.

On the women’s side, junior Vianney Sanchez posted a 5k time of 19:48.14 to place 52nd and lead the women before two freshmen made their mark. Rookie Ariana Garcia ran 19:57.55 to finish 58th and she was closely followed by Jordan Edwards’ time of 19:57.79 for a 59th place finish.

Senior Hunter Paul finished 72nd with a time of 20:29.79 and freshman Amanda Gordon rounded out the scoring five with a mark of 21:29.79, placing 88th.

Little Rock will head up the road to Conway for the UCA Cross Country Challenge on Saturday, Sept. 7.

Williams Baptist wins in Batesville

News Photo
Photo by Williams Baptist University SID

August 30, 3019

By WILLIAMS BAPTIST SPORTS INFORMATION

BATESVILLE – The Williams Baptist University women’s cross country team opened its season in style, coming in first place at the 2019 Lyon College Invitational. The 5km race was the opening meet of the season and was hosted by Lyon in Batesville.

The team placed six runners in the race, including five of the top 10. Emily Weiss (FR/Gosnell) led the team with a time of 24:40. She finished in third place overall. It was her first collegiate race. The team finished with 18 points, 21 points ahead of second place Crowley’s Ridge College.

“We are not where we want to be yet, but I have high expectations for these ladies. I have some newcomers with some grit and some returners that know how to lead. It is just the first meet, but my goal is for them to build on this for the rest of the season,” said Head Coach Tim Shepard.

Kyla Downes (JR/Cleveland, Tenn.) finished fourth overall with a time of  25:42. In seventh place overall and third on the team was Kelcey Cooper (JR/Yoakum, Texas) with a time of 27:52. Meanwhile, Ka’lee Daniel (FR/Mountain Home) ran the race in 28:03, good enough for ninth place overall.

Following them was Rachel McKuin (SO/Blytheville) in 10th place and Amy McMorris (FR/Atoka, Okla.) in 13th place. McKuin ran the race in 28:59 and McMorris in 29:32. 

Ozarks Women looking to make Strides

August 30, 2019

By OZARKS SPORTS INFORMATION

CLARKSVILLE – The women’s cross country team at the University of Ozarks continues to make strides as a program and aims for sustained success in 2019.

The 2018 team won one home race and finished second in the other. Head Coach Heidi Pinkerton brought in a crop of four talented freshmen to add to the current team. 

Overall, Pinkeron is excited to see how the season will play out. “I am excited to see what we will accomplish this season. We don’t have one girl that is minutes ahead of everyone else. We have a young group. We have a good pack. I think if they work together, they can do some bigger things than last year. The girls are on board and want to improve. They are doing the small things and are holding one another accountable.” Silvia Chavez returns for her sophomore campaign. “I think Silvia will do some great things for the team. Sydney will be  right there with Silvia.”

Head Coach Video Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eUMfwxh_k8&t=8s

Returners: 
Areli Moreno (Sr.), Silvia Chavez (So.)                                                                      

Newcomers: Andrea Garcia (Fr.), Leslie Hernandez (Jr.), Sydney Pyle (Fr.), Anya Sifuentes (Fr.), Stephanie Trevino (Fr.)

Fastest 5K time in 2018: 19:16.5 (Hannah Smith at Little Rock Invitational)

Individual Championships in 2018: 
Hannah Smith (Arkansas D-III Championships)

Highest Team Finish in 2018: 
1st (Arkansas D-III Championships)

Coach Pinkerton Quote:“I think if they work together, they can do some bigger things than last year.” 

2018 Post-Season: NCAA III Regionals, American Southwest Conference Championships

2018 NCAA III Regional Finish: Individual

2018 ASC Championship Finish: 8th of 12

2018 NCAA III Regional Participants: Hannah SmithSilvia Chavez, Chauzney Hooks

2018 Conference Awards: Hannah Smith (All-Conference First Team)

2018 Schedule
August
31 Early Bird Eagles Opener (Arkansas D-III Championships)

SEPTEMBER
14 University of the Ozarks Invitational
21 at Rhodes College Invitational @ Memphis, Tenn.

OCTOBER
5 at Chile Pepper Festival @ Fayetteville
19 at Little Rock Invitational @ Little Rock

NOVEMBER
2 at ASC Championships @ Abilene, Texas 
16 at NCAA III Regionals @ Memphis, Tenn. 
23 at NCAA III Nationals @ Louisville, Ky.

Lyon takes second in Home Meet

August 30, 2019

By LYON COLLEGE SPORTS INFORMATION

BATESVILLE – The Lyon College men’s and women’s cross country teams got their respective 2019 seasons off to a strong start as the Scots placed in the top two individually in both the men’s and women’s divisions at the 2019 Lyon College Invitational on Friday evening. Freshmen Cade Davis and Haeley Pines took home first-place honors for the men’s and women’s team, respectively.

In her first collegiate race, Pines cruised to the finish line of the women’s 5k race with the best time at 23:07. Teammate, Alex Nagle, finished just behind Pines in second at 23:27. Daisy Connor and Amber McClurg both finished within the top 10 as well. Connor placed sixth with a time of 26:54, while McClurg ended in eighth at 27:58.

In the men’s 5k division, Davis and Chris Lemp finished in first and second for the Scots, respectively, in the first collegiate race for both runners. Davis coasted his way around the course and finished with a time of 17:57, while Lemp posted a time of 18:17. Addison Causey placed eighth with a time of 20:21. Wyatt Frerichs crossed the finish line in 11th for the Scots with a time of 22:08. Patrick Mitchell (24:13), Payton Dunn (26:00) and Zachary Nohr (29:04) also competed for the Scots.

As a whole, the men’s team placed second in the event. Williams Baptist edged the Scots by a single point, while Crowley’s Ridge College came in third.

The Scots will return to action on Sept. 7 at the UCA Cross Country Challenge in Conway.

UAFS Cross Country Teams enter Season with High Hopes

August 31, 2019

By UAFS SPORTS INFORMATION

FORT SMITH – Mason Rhodes, the head coach of the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith men’s and women’s cross country teams, has plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the 2019 season; 14 of them to be exact.

“We’ve added 11 freshmen and three transfers to our squads,” said Rhodes. “We wanted to grow both the size and scope of talent on our teams, which is exactly what we’ve done. I’m excited about this year’s recruiting class.”

Now in his second year of leading the Lion’s programs, Rhodes said he was looking for a particular quality in this year’s class of recruits.

“I wanted kids who aren’t afraid to challenge themselves in the classroom and on the course,” said Rhodes. “Our student-athletes are fierce competitors, but they’re also focused on earning a degree. What they learn in this program and at this university will allow them to be successful in the professional world.”

This new class of recruits joins a talented group of returners on both squads.

“On the women’s side, we’re looking for big things from senior Kandace Young,” said Rhodes. “She broke our school record last year by running an 18:36 at the 5k distance. Her goal this year is to drop that even lower. We only have three returners on our men’s side: Will PhillipsOliver Perez and James Glidewell. All three are coming off a very strong showing in the spring and are focused on ending their running careers on a high note.”

The experience of the returning Lions will be especially important with the university’s switch to the Lone Star Conference.

“The Lone Star is very similar to the Heartland Conference in regards to cross country,” said Rhodes. “Although we didn’t show as well as we wanted in 2018, I think we’ll be competitive this year. We have a strong core of returners. With the addition of our new talent, we may surprise some people as to how good we can be.”

The UAFS Lions will start the season by hosting the UAFS Invitational Sept. 7 at the site of the former First Tee of Fort Smith, 6100 Golf Course Loop. This will be only the second time UAFS has hosted a cross country meet.

“We’re partnering with the Fort Smith School District to build a running course at that site,” said Rhodes. “It will serve both the university and school districts. The UAFS meets will begin that morning with the women’s competition at 8 a.m. Our men will compete immediately afterwards and be followed by both high school and junior high races. If you love cross country, this is the meet for you.”

A complete UAFS cross country schedule and roster is available at uafslions.com. 

Little Rock opens Cross Country Season in Memphis

August 31, 2019

By LITTLE ROCK SPORTS INFORMATION

LITTLE ROCK – Little Rock will begin the 2019 cross country season under the lights when the Trojans head to the City Auto Memphis Twilight Classic. The women’s race will begin at 9:20 p.m. while the men’s race is expected to start at 10 p.m.

Three Things to Know

  1. Someone Bring the Coffee
    While most cross country races are in the mornings (and the teams usually train in the morning), this race will have a much different feel with such a late start. The women start at 9:20 p.m. and the men at 10 p.m. – nearly 12 hours later than a normal cross country race starts.
  2. Coaching Debuts for Little Rock’s Team
    Saturday’s meet will not only mark the start of the 2019 season for both the men’s and women’s programs but all will mark the debut of two new coaches on the Little Rock coaching staff. Meg Joiner, a former track athlete from Oakland University, is starting her first year working with the women’s distance runners at Little Rock while Alan Webb, Olympian and American record holder in the mile, is working with the men’s distance runners.
  3. Experience Returns
    Little Rock’s men’s team returns three runners that scored in last year’s Memphis Twilight Classic – Ricardo Banks, Emilio Medina and Carter Reynolds – for the Trojans. Banks was second on the team with a 22:13.80 time while Medina ran 22:45.55 and Reynolds clocked 22:49.99 to finish third and fourth, respectively. Meanwhile on the women’s side, Hunter Pual (19:14.83) and Vianney Sanchez (19:41.34) were the second and third-placing runners for the Trojans, respectively. Both sides lost their top finisher from last year’s race.

For the latest information on Little Rock Cross Country, make sure to check out LRTrojans.com. You can also find the team on social media at @LittleRockTFXC on Facebook and Twitter.

No. 8 Arkansas Women set for Hurricane Invitational

By JEFF SMITH/Arkansas Sports Information

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The No. 8 Arkansas women’s cross country team will travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma this weekend, opening its 2019 season at the Hurricane Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 31.

The season opener will feature the Razorbacks taking on three regional foes including Oklahoma, No. 19 Oklahoma State, and host Tulsa. Arkansas will toe the line for the two-mile race at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday at the Mohawk Soccer Complex. The meet will be scored as a normal team format and not as a dual meet.

The Razorbacks head into the new year ranked No. 1 in the South Central region, and No. 8 in the country, announced by the USTFCCCA earlier this week. A Southeastern Conference poll of the leagues head coaches was released Monday, projected Arkansas to win a seventh-straight title at the 2019 SEC Championships.

The 2018 season concluded with Arkansas capturing an SEC Championship, a first-place finish at the NCAA South Central Regional, and a 14th-place finish at the NCAA Championships.

The Razorbacks return five All-SEC performers in Taylor Werner, Carina Viljoen, Lauren Gregory, Maddy Reed, and 2018 SEC Freshman of the Year Katrina Robinson

For more information on Arkansas track and field, including in-meet updates, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.

Razorbacks head to Tulsa for Hurricane Invitational

By JEFF SMITH/Arkansas Sports Information

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The No. 20 Arkansas men’s cross country team will travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma this weekend, opening its 2019 season at the Hurricane Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 31.

The season opener will feature the Razorbacks taking on three regional foes including Oklahoma, No. 7 Oklahoma State, and host No. 29 Tulsa. Arkansas will toe the line for the four-mile race at 9 a.m. on Saturday at the Mohawk Soccer Complex. The meet will be scored as a normal team format and not as a dual meet.

The Razorbacks head into the new year ranked No. 1 in the South Central region, and No. 20 in the country, announced by the USTFCCCA earlier this week. A Southeastern Conference poll of the leagues head coaches was released Monday, projected Arkansas to finish third at the 2019 SEC Championships behind Ole Miss and Alabama.

The 2018 season concluded with Arkansas finishing runner-up at the SEC Championship, a first-place finish at the NCAA South Central Regional, and a 25th-place finish at the NCAA Championships.

While the Razorbacks lost Cameron Griffith and Ethan Moehn, who finished third and 14th, respectively, at last year’s SEC meet, Arkansas returns SEC Champion Gilbert Boit, Ryan Murphy and Graham Brown who finished first, ninth, and 17th in Auburn, Ala. last year with two of the three earning All-SEC honors. Arkansas also returns Matt Young, who was an All-Region performer for the Razorbacks at the South Central meet last season.

For more information on Arkansas track and field, including in-meet updates, follow @RazorbackTF on Twitter.

Team Photo: Heber Springs Senior Girls Cross Country

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The XXXX Heber Springs Senior Girls Cross Country Team. Front, from left, Ann Krug, Amy San, Nikki Anderson, Barbara Stoecker Baggett. Back, from left, Elizabeth Krug, Brooke Irwin, Amy Powell, and Rebecca Mays. PHOTO COURTESTY OF WINGARD STUDIOS/COACH JOHNETTE GOLDMAN