Pictured above: Mansfield state cross country participants. Pictured: Jessie George, Natalie Brewer, Megan Rose, Elizabeth Escalante (manager), Bree George, Lennon Woods, Alyssa Berry, Addison Goetz, and Corrina Wesley.
It wasn’t a trophy moment but it was a satisfying run nonetheless for the Mansfield senior girls at the Arkansas Activities Association state cross country championships on November 3. The Lady Tigers collectively reached number 10 in the state with the combined score of their top five runners.
Four time River Valley All-Star qualifier Megan Rose led the pack with a 17th place overall finish among 143 participants. Her time of 22:49.0 was a career best over the Oaklawn Park 5k course.
“We were hoping for a little bit more as a team,” said Mansfield coach John Mackey. “But, we will take the top ten status. There are many schools that would welcome that kind of recognition in a heartbeat. We’re just accustomed to bigger things. But, it’s definitely a worthy accomplishment. The kids put in the time and I’m proud of them.”
Rose was ranked as high as number two among state accumulated results throughout the year. But, as the coach confessed those rankings are hard to compare.
“You see numbers all the time. But, in cross country it can be really deceiving,” acknowledged the coach. “Every course is different with hills, rocks, wet, dry, or accuracy of distance. It’s hard to compare. I just know our girls, especially Megan, work extremely hard. Any recognition they get is well deserved.”
Rose’s state time was three places away from AAA All-State status. By definition from the state association handbook, All-State status goes to the top 10% of all the state participants. Since there were 143 girls in the 3A race that equals 14 All-State players for that division.
“It was something that we were looking forward too,” said Mackey of Rose’s non-qualification to the AAA list. “Megan is that type of runner. But, it happens a lot. Some hot shot freshmen that nobody sees all season move up to the senior high level just before state. They run extremely well and take up some of those places.”
This year three freshmen landed in the top 10 with four inside the top 15. In fact, the individual winner of the 3A girls’ state championship was a ninth grader and so was the runner-up.
Rose did earn River Valley All-Star status for the fourth consecutive year according to an email recently received by the coach. Rose and teammate Lennon Woods both received the automatic bid based upon qualifying times they ran throughout the year.
The All-Star list includes the top 25 area runners based upon a cutoff score. Rose has made the list every year since her freshman season. Woods a sophomore also made the list last season as a freshman.
Mansfield’s top five scoring state participants along with Rose and Woods included Alyssa Berry, Corina Wesley, and Natalie Brewer. Woods was 60th place with a mark of 25:17.2. Berry came across in 76th place in 26:55.3. Wesley and Brewer came in consecutive order at 82 and 83 with respective marks of 27:06.5 and 27:08.8.
Mansfield’s blockers included Jessie George and Addison Goetz. Senior Breanna George also competed. It was her final race.
The 2017 regular season concluded with the AAA state finals. Mansfield however will continue with their attendance at the River Valley All-Stars on November 11 at Magazine.