The Mansfield junior girls have established a pace that has brought them consecutive plaques in the first two cross country meets. Over the First Tee Course in Fort Smith and now at the Lion’s Club Course at UA Rich Mountain in Mena, the young Lady Tiger runners have a pair of runner-up trophies.
Leading the way is newcomer Trinity Triska. Just a seventh grader, Triska has quickly claimed attention with her impressive results thus far.
At Mena on Tuesday, Triska bettered all but two runners in the junior girls 1.55 mile race. Her finish line time of 11:32.9 carried her into third place overall against a field of 51 runners.
“Back in July when we first started training, it looked like Trinity was going to make an impact,” spoke John Mackey, head coach of the Mansfield cross country program. “She had a natural gift that is now being recognized as we get into the competition.”
Close behind in the rankings for Mansfield were a pair of sisters. Jadelynn Wood and Laney Wood also established themselves as constant contenders. Jadelynn, the oldest as a ninth grader, and little sister Laney, a seventh grader, have cracked the top ten in each of their outings so far this early 2019 season.
“Those three are real competitors,” beamed Mackey. “Jadelynn and Laney have this sibling rivalry thing going that allows our team to reap the rewards.”
Supporting the top three junior Tigers at Mena were Addison Bowman and Alyssa James. In rank order, the scoring Tiger five were Triska (3), J. Wood (7), L. Wood (8), Bowman (19), and James (28).
Eden Mounts and Maylei Rogers were the team’s first two blockers.
Mansfield’s other teams did well as individuals. The usual success stories followed Faith Rainwater and Ethan Chapman respectively off their senior girls and senior boys team.
Rainwater closed fast as the number ten runner among 49 athletes. Her time was slightly faster than her top four finish at Fort Smith three days earlier at 24:26.7.
Chapman also improved inching towards that sub 20 minute mark by running the 5K distance in 20:04.9. He was eleventh in the largest peopled race of the afternoon at 83 runners.
Junior Darby Jones continued to be the surprise of the senior girls team with another quality run. Jones came across the 5K finish in 26:28.8 for 22nd place. That mark was more than a minute faster than her Saturday result.
McKenzie Griffin, John Branche, and Renden Emery were also much faster in their second race of the season. Griffin helped the senior girls with a 27:15.0 mark for 25th place. Branche completed the senior men’s course in 22:37.40 for a senior 40th place. Emery bested his Tiger teammate by nearly 18 seconds for 36th place.
On the junior boys roster, Tommy Phang and Asthon Hinkle continue an ascent towards the top medal winners. The pair of runners were just outside the 15 medalists at 16th and 17th place respectively.
Phang was the first junior Tiger to cross at 10:49.2 while Hinkle darted in behind that time at 10:53.5.
Mansfield’s next race will be at Caddo Hills on Saturday morning.